Poe wants probe on NGOs’ use of pork

Bayan Muna also calls for a joint DOJ-Ombudsman probe on the pork barrel scam

SENATE'S DUTY. Grace Poe initiates a Senate probe on the regulation of non-government organizations and their use of government funds. File photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig

MANILA, Philippines – An ally of President Benigno Aquino III said she will call for a Senate probe on non-government organizations (NGOs) that have transactions with government.

On Monday, August 19, Sen Grace Poe said she plans to file a resolution on Tuesday asking the Senate to look into how NGOs are regulated and how they use government funds. This, after the release of a special Commission on Audit (COA) report on the pork barrel, which revealed that P6.2-billion was released to dubious NGOs from 2007-2009.

Poe, who chairs the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Public Information and Mass Media, said the resolution seeks “to condemn the wanton mismanagement of public funds, and at the same time, seek that justice be eventually served.”

She said “as the people’s representative in government,” it is part of the Senate’s responsibility to end the squandering of the people’s money, and decried corruption as having “become complex that NGOs and peoples’ organizations are utilized to masquerade illegal activities.”

Earlier this month, before the release of the COA report, the Senate unanimously agreed not to investigate the multi-million peso pork barrel scam. At least 5 of its members and 23 congressmen were tagged in the alleged scam.

Also on Monday, Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares decried the slow pace of the investigation and urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct the probe quicker.

“The number of NGOs and legislators reportedly involved in the pork barrel scam suddenly ballooned after the recent COA report,” he said. “This means it will take some time for the DOJ to investigate these parties after which they will file the complaint with the Ombudsman. I propose a joint DOJ-Ombudsman investigation since the DOJ will ultimately have to file this with the Ombudsman anyway.”

Former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya however has denied any irregularities under his watch and said all releases of the pork barrel followed a process. – Rappler.com