Pork list riles lawmakers but won’t probe themselves | Inquirer News

Pork list riles lawmakers but won’t probe themselves

/ 05:48 AM May 21, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Lawmakers are all riled up over reports linking them to key players in an alleged pork barrel scam, but leaders of the House of Representatives are reluctant to wade into the fray and conduct its own investigation even if it would give colleagues a platform to rebut allegations.

Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao said House leaders had been talking about how to handle reports on the lists of alleged pork barrel conspirators, and the prevailing opinion was that it would be better to leave the inquiry to authorities.

“The preponderant opinion is that it will be useless, purposeless if the House investigates members of the House because whatever conclusion of the House is, people will not accept it,” Aggabao said in a press briefing.


He also said Congress does not have the statutory capacity to exonerate its members, because regardless of what its probe finds, it would not stop the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman from filing cases against them if they see fit.


There would also be practical issues should the House decide to initiate a probe, since members of the good government and ethics committees, which would have jurisdiction over the matter, were themselves mentioned in the reports.

The committees would also be investigating their own colleagues, “so there is a question of credibility,” Aggabao said.

Aggabao also said the government’s case against the real scammers seems to have eroded, what with the confusion arising from the proliferation of lists with different names and their piecemeal disclosure.

“Who would we believe now?” he asked.

Asked who benefits from the confusion, he noted that the principal characters are not being talked about anymore. People have been distracted, he added.

For Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the emergence of lists, some of which include him and his brother, was tied to the forthcoming 2016 elections, especially since his brother, Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali, was close to the President.


Umali said whoever was behind the lists may want to bring down the President’s rating, since his allies were also named.

But he added that the lists had no probative value, and had no allegations of wrongdoing.

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TAGS: Congress, Giorgidi Aggabao, Pork list

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