MANILA, Philippines – Making good the promise it made after the Presidnt’s State of the Nation Address, the minority bloc in the House of Representatives filed Monday night, August 5, a resolution seeking to investigate the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ pork barrel.
Led by Minority Leader and San Juan City Representative Ronaldo Zamora, the opposition filed Resolution 160, seeking a joint investigation by the House committees on good government and public accountability, and ethics and privileges into the operations led by Janet Lim-Napoles of JLN Corp.
Affidavits submitted by whistleblowers to the justice department say Napoles secures the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and lawmakers for her dummy NGOs’ ghost projects. Lawmakers allegedly get kickbacks for endorsing the NGOs.
Commission on Audit reports examined by Rappler show that the lists of lawmakers and NGOs involved in the scam are longer and may not all be immediately linked to Napoles.
“Through deceit and fraud, JLN Corp. had allegedly defrauded the government of billions of pesos through the creation of at least 20 bogus NGOs to obtain funds from PDAF for ghost projects by offering lawmakers substantial commissions from the amount of PDAF, in exchange for the right to determine the implementing agencies and fund beneficiaries,” the resolution reads.
Zamora’s group filed the resolution despite the position of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. that Congress will not conduct its own probe of the pork barrel scam until the National Bureau of Investigation finishes it own probe.
“The magnitude and the destructive effects of the PDAF scam must not be swept into oblivion, as the issue is destroying the trust that members of the Philippine Congress should enjoy from the people they represent,” the resolution says.
In conducting “a true and faithful inquiry into this scam,” the opposition hopes to come up with “legislation to correct many processes and procedures involved in the identification, implementation, monitoring, auditing, and public accountability.”
Senators, meanwhile, have unanimously decided not to conduct its own probe until the NBI, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Audit finish their own investigation. – Rappler.com