Zamora vows to probe pork barrel scam

The House Minority leader says lawmakers who are not guilty should not be 'maligned by suspicion or equally convicted in the public mind' like those who are into the scam

MANILA, Philippines – Calling the pork barrel scam a “criminal plunder,” House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said Monday, July 29, he will file a resolution seeking a congressional probe into the pork barrel scam. 

“Whatever the real numbers are – P10 billion, perhaps less, perhaps more – we cannot and must not sweep this scam into oblivion,” Zamora said in his counter speech to President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address. 

Zamora said he wants to give lawmakers the chance to defend themselves, especially for the “majority” who “do not deserve to be maligned by suspicion or be as equally convicted in the public mind as the few who are truly guilty.” 

House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr, for his part, has called on the Department of Justice to send them copies of the documents linking solons to the scam, submitted by whistleblower and alleged syndicate bagman Benhur Luy.

Belmonte wants to take a look at the documents before deciding whether a probe is in order.

(Click this link for Rappler’s series on the pork barrel scam.)

In the Senate, senators are divided over the issue. Senate President Franklin Drilon has taken a hands-off approach, saying that it would be better if the investigation is conducted outside the chamber.  

“Of course I understand why the Senate is doing that,” Zamora said. “It is not doing itself any favor on the issue that is truly the elephant in the room.” 

Zamora also presented recommendations on how to reform the use of pork barrel: 

  • Insert and disclose pork barrel allocations in the General Appropriations Act or annual budget.
  • Tighten the menu for all budgets to be submitted.
  • Open and disclose the process of identifying and funding projects.

About the alleged perpetrators, Zamora only had this to say: “Let us jail whomever deserves to be jailed, and then let us throw away the key.” – Rappler.com