Sen. Binay: Where are the pork papers I requested?
MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday lamented that her request for documents on pork barrel-related disbursements had yet to be granted, a year after she sought the papers from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) through the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Binay said she was disappointed that the committee appeared to be giving preference to requests from administration senators, and appealed to the panel to treat all matters pending before it equally.
She also criticized the DBM for its failure to produce the document.
The committee, headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, conducted an investigation into the alleged diversion of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects and kickbacks in a P10-billion scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are under detention on plunder charges in connection with the Napoles racket.
The Department of Justice has repeatedly announced that similar charges would be brought against lawmakers allied with the Aquino administration, but has so far failed to do so.
“How long does it take for the blue ribbon committee to get the documents it needs on the PDAF?” Binay said in a statement.
Expanded PDAF probe
Binay also said she had asked Guingona to expand the scope of the PDAF probe to include other government agencies’ fund releases to nongovernment organizations.
The daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay said the blue ribbon committee was no longer independent and nonpartisan, and had focused on loose talk.
A subcommittee of the blue ribbon committee has been holding hearings on the alleged irregularities in Makati City that supposedly took place during the term of Binay’s father and brother, the current Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
Guingona said the documents Binay wanted were not with him but with the DBM. He also expressed openness to expanding the PDAF probe.
Binay said that since Sept. 12, 2013, she had been seeking documents on these disbursements:
— P69.261 billion released to the Department of Budget of Public Works and Highways for various infrastructure, including local, projects (VILP) for 2007 to 2009, which could not be accounted to a specific legislator
— P1.126 billion released from the PDAF, which could not be accounted for, to a specific legislator
— P6.5 million released from other sources such as financial assistance to local government units and budgetary support to government-owned and -controlled corporations
— Complete summary of the schedule of releases from the PDAF per legislator and implementing agencies for 2007 to 2009
Binay said Guingona wrote her on Nov. 7, 2013, informing her that the committee had transmitted her request to the DBM.
On Dec. 13, 2013, the DBM wrote Binay in response to her request, but she said its letter only contained the Commission on Audit findings on its report on the PDAF and VILP.