Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano called for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), otherwise known as the pork barrel funds and pressed for the appointment of Former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson as a special independent investigator that would probe the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam.
Cayetano said that he will file two resolutions, one directing the Blue Ribbon Committee to appoint former Senator Ping Lacson as a special independent investigator of the PDAF scam and another concurrent resolution abolishing the PDAF.
“These two measures are drastic but necessary ways to ensure that the benefits of our country’s economic growth and the people’s money are not hijacked by a few elites but would go directly to those people who have been left behind,” he said.
Cayetano said reports from investigative agencies and the COA showed that the system of allocating funds to various agencies through the PDAF of lawmakers in order to deliver immediate services to their constituents is already flawed beyond repair.
Cayetano also requested the Commission on Audit to conduct a special audit on the use of his PDAF allocation from 2010 to present.
“With the recent controversies involving the misuse of the PDAF, I have taken it upon myself to request for this special audit out of respect for the right of the Filipino people to know how their money is being spent,” Cayetano said in his letter to COA Chair Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan.
In the spirit of transparency and accountability, he vowed to submit all pertinent records and related documents to COA as soon as possible.
Cayetano likewise urged his colleagues from both houses of Congress to do the same.
“The best way to resolve the issue is for everyone to come clean. No excuses. No exemptions. I am urging all lawmakers to open their financial records to the public in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and reform,” he maintained.
In order to ensure that the investigation is conducted more effectively and credibly, Cayetano also proposed that the Blue Ribbon Committee appoint former Senator Ping Lacson as a apecial independent investigator.
“The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should exercise utmost prudence, discretion and sensitivity so as not to allow its proceedings to be plagued with questions and insinuations of partiality and conflict of interest since this is the first time it has been placed in a situation where many of its members have been alleged to be involved in the issue it will be investigating”, Cayetano said in his resolution.
He added that the “Blue Ribbon Committee needs an independent and credible special investigator who can assist it to ferret out the truth, pursue leads, and find evidence so that the guilty can be charged and the innocent can clear their names, while maintaining its credibility and impartiality,” and that “Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is the best person to conduct the investigation because of his impeccable record against corruption and his unwavering stand against the pork barrel.”
Cayetano cited how recent allegations of corruption in government such as the “Janet Napoles PDAF scam” has enraged Filipino taxpayers who are still struggling to “make ends meet” despite the country’s economic growth.
“Many politicians appear to have been serving themselves and enriching people like Janet Napoles at the expense of those who are left behind due to poverty and are in dire need of government support,” he lamented.
Cayetano stressed that the bottomline of the investigation is to build a strong case that will lead to the immediate filing of charges against those guilty of stealing people’s money.
“Filing a case is easy. But building a strong case with sufficient evidence is difficult that’s why we need a credible investigation to happen,” he said.#