Senate probe into Malampaya fund scam set for September
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate blue ribbon committee has finally set a date for the long-delayed investigation into the alleged misuse of the Malampaya fund, a multi-billion-peso resource allocated among agencies according to the President's discretion.
In a statement on Tuesday, August 26, committee chairperson Senator Teofisto Guingona III announced that he will conduct a hearing on this issue in a month "in the fulfillment of the Senate blue ribbon committee's mandate to investigate alleged wrongdoings of the government and its public officials."
The Malampaya fund scam initially being investigated involves allocations for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), a huge part of which was siphoned off by Janet Lim Napoles, who is also the alleged mastermind in the illegal diversion of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In 2009, Napoles allegedly obtained P900 million of the Malampaya fund from DAR for the ghost projects of her bogus non-governmental organizations. (READ: How the Malampaya fund was plundered)
The Senate hearing on the Malampaya fund scam was first set for May, but Guingona postponed it because of the unavailability of resource persons, and to give way to preparations for the World Economic Forum.
Some senators have reacted to the long postponement of the investigation, contrasting it against the perceived aggressiveness with which Guingona's committee investigated the PDAF scam that involved opposition senators.
Before his arrest following the pork barrel scam, Senator Jinggoy Estrada questioned his colleagues in delaying the probe. He had wanted to participate in the Malampaya fund scam hearing before his arrest over the PDAF scam was ordered by the anti-graft court. (READ: Jinggoy decries ‘unfair’ reporting, delayed probe)
Another member of the opposition, Senator Nancy Binay, said the committee should pursue this long-delayed investigation into the Malampaya fund instead of the allegations of corruption against her father Vice President Jejomar Binay and their family in Makati City. (READ: Makati bizmen urged: Speak up on Binay ‘horror stories’) – Reynaldo Santos Jr/Rappler.com