Universities to gov’t: Speed up pork probe, file cases

Ateneo, La Salle, Miriam, and UP release a joint statement, urging continued vigilance over the pork barrel issue

MANILA, Philippines – Four higher education institutions renewed their “collective condemnation” of the grave abuse of public funds after another whistleblower of the pork barrel scam surfaced.

Presidents of the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University (DLSU), Miriam College, and the University of the Philippines (UP) signed a joint statement that was released on Wednesday, February 12.

As they called on academic institutions to mobilize and participate in activities “that will promote greater transparency and accountability in the country,” they also called the on government to speed up the investigations and file appropriate cases against public officials involved. 

“With the most recent surfacing of another witness/whistle-blower claiming to cast additional light on the ‘Napoles-related’ acts of abuse of public funds, we make this added plea for academic communities and the rest of Philippine society to take a keen interest in, and to patriotically support, the emergence of the truth and the requisite acts of justice and reparation that must follow from the truth,” the statement read. (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption)

“We insist that the appropriate cases against public officials involved in corruption and plunder be filed and prosecuted with the dispatch due not only the accused and the respondents but the aggrieved and victimized nation even more,” it added. 

The Department of Justice last week granted Ruby Tuason, alleged former bagman for Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, provisional status as a state witness in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam case. (READ: Ruby Tuason to back pork whistleblowers)

Tuason’s “slam dunk’ testimony,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said, proves that Estrada and Enrile were directly and personally receiving money from the scam. (READ: Ruby Tuason: ‘I personally delivered Jinggoy’s shares’

In the past, all 4 universities had called for vigilance on the issue. 

Days before the Million People March in August 2013, DLSU president Jose Mari Jimenez wrote an open letter to the De La Salle community, inviting Lasallians to “renew [their] commitment to good governance” by participating in the protest. 

Less than a month after, students from Ateneo, Miriam, and UP held a collective protest dubbed “Katipunan Kontra Korupsyon” to call for government accountability.

In the rally, officials read an earlier joint statement from UP president Alfredo Pascual, Miriam College president Rosario Lapus, and Ateneo de Manila University president Father Jose Ramon Villarin. They urged the government to look into not only how public funds are used, but also the culture of corruption in the country. – Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com

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