MANILA, Philippines – There was no pork and there are no puppies.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Budget Secretary “Florencio” Butch Abad denied allegations of Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago that pork barrel was used to secure the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Enrile was reacting to Santiago’s interview on GMA News TV Thursday night. Santiago said she received information about the use of pork barrel.
“Naturally, that person doesn’t want to testify. I heard the story and evaluated if it has basis or it's just criticism or loose talk and I’m convinced that my source is unimpeachable, meaning the source is authoritative,” Santiago said in a mix of English and Filipino.
In separate media statements, Enrile and Abad rejected Santiago’s claim that the Aquino administration used the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), known as pork barrel, to pressure senators to convict Corona.
In an interview over radio dzRH, Enrile said, “Ewan ko kung si Miriam nakatanggap ng pork barrel, eh ako hindi eh. Huwag naman niyang sirain ang Senado sapagkat hindi naman totoo na mayroong binigay ang Malacañang na pabuya upang kami ay maging tuta. (I don’t know if Miriam got park barrel. I did not. I hope she does not destroy the Senate because it is not true that Malacañang gave a prize so we will be puppies.)
Enrile was the presiding officer in Corona’s impeachment trial. He was among 20 senators who convicted Corona.
Only Santiago and Senators Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Joker Arroyo voted to acquit Corona.
File photo by Joe Arazas/Senate PRIB
‘Miriam got pork’
Abad also released a statement categorically denying Santiago’s allegation. He said PDAF allocations for 20 of 23 senators have already been released.
The Budget Secretary said the 20 included Santiago, who already got P80-M for various projects as her office requested. The last PDAF release for her was on May 31, 2012.
Abad said PDAF allocations were also released for Marcos.
“The three senators who have no PDAF releases charged against their allocations are Sen Ralph Recto, who has not submitted any request yet; and Senators Joker Arroyo and Panfilo Lacson, who have publicly waived PDAF allocations for their projects.”
He said the PDAF records can be checked because these are available online.
“DBM releases PDAF allocations after receiving and evaluating the requests of legislators to fund their priority development projects, regardless of their political affiliations or preferences,” Abad said.
“It would be of great assistance to us if Sen Defensor Santiago will disclose the identities of these individuals who are involved in the misuse of public funds so that the Administration can take proper action against them.”
Below is the table Abad released showing the PDAF releases for the senators: