Santiago wants more ‘pork’ cases filed

Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago raised concern over the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman has so far charged only three senators and 11 former congressmen since the P10-billion pork barrel scam was exposed in 2013.

The Department of Justice has recommended charges against 24 legislators in the racket allegedly led by Janet Lim Napoles, while a Com-mission on Audit report has named some 118 legislators had questionable deals involving their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Santiago vowed that once elected, she will expedite the investigation and prosecution of cases against those involved in the PDAF scam.

“If these corrupt politicians remain at large, they will return to power and again steal public funds,” she said after a speech before some 3,000 youth voters at the Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela.

Her statement comes as the Ombudsman ordered cases filed against six former legislators who allegedly funneled funds to bogus nongovernment organizations.

The list, which is the second batch of individuals charged over the PDAF mess, included former representatives Zenaida Ducut of Pampanga, Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa, Rodolfo Valencia of Oriental Mindoro, Marc Cagas of Davao del Sur, Arrel Olaño of Davao del Norte, and Arthur Pingoy, Jr. of South Cotabato.

Santiago, one of the most vocal critics of the pork barrel system which she said continues to this day in the form of lump sums in the national budget said her platform includes the abolition of all forms of pork barrel, including the PDAF and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which is also called the “presidential pork barrel.” Both have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

“I will support the recent Supreme Court decisions on PDAF and the DAP. They espouse the appropriate roles of the President and Congress in the use of public funds. The decisions ought to be supported not resisted,” Santiago said.#