MANILA, Philippines – Did the exposés in 2013 on the pork barrel fund scam have any effect on this year’s elections?
Out of the more than 100 legislators mentioned in the special audit report that looked into the release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to questionable NGOs from 2007 to 2009, only 86 filed their candidacies for various positions in the 2016 elections.
After the elections, we discovered that only a little more than half of them – or 48 – successfully clinched another term in public office.
Out of these winners, 40% are back in Congress, while the remaining 60% were elected to various local government positions.
Included in this 48, however, are those who were the subject of complaints filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Out of the legislators identified by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its audit report, 29 ran for district representative and 5 ran for senator in the 2016 polls.
However, only 15 House candidates and 4 Senate hopefuls were successful in their election bids.
|Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva||senator||LP|
|Juan Miguel F. Zubiri||senator||independent|
|Ralph G. Recto||senator||LP|
|Richard J. Gordon||senator||Bagumbayan-VNP|
|Lorna C. Silverio||Bulacan, 3rd district representative||NUP|
|Rolando A. Uy||Cagayan de Oro City, 1st district representative||1STP|
|Renato J. Unico Jr||Camarines Norte, 1st district representative||LP|
|Arnulfo P. Fuentebella||Camarines Sur, 4th district representative||NPC|
|Benhur L. Salimbangon||Cebu, 4th district representative||NUP|
|Ramon H. Durano VI||Cebu, 5th district representative||NPC|
|Federico S. Sandoval II||Malabon City, lone district representative||NPC|
|Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon||Muntinlupa City, lone district representative||LP|
|Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr||Pampanga, 3rd district representative||NPC|
|Vincent P. Crisologo||Quezon City, 1st district representative||UNA|
|Michael John R. Duavit||Rizal, 1st district representative||NPC|
|Ronaldo B. Zamora||San Juan City, lone district representative||NP|
|Robert Ace S. Barbers||Surigao del Norte, 2nd district representative||NP|
|Prospero A. Pichay Jr||Surigao del Sur, 1st district representative||LAKAS-CMD|
|Ann K. Hofer||Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd district representative||LP|
These lawmakers will be part of the 17th Congress which will no longer receive pork barrel funding. The Supreme Court decided on November 2013 to junk the PDAF due to its unconstitutionality.
Representatives Rolando Uy (Cagayan de Oro City), Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu), Ronaldo Zamora (San Juan City), and Ann Hofer (Zamboanga Sibugay) were part of the 16th Congress, which received initial pork barrel funding in 2013. The SC ordered that the remaining 2013 PDAF allocations yet to be released to lawmakers be returned to the national treasury.
The SC decision follows the exposés in July 2013 of the alleged misuse of the multi-billion pork barrel fund, with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles as the alleged mastermind.
Meanwhile, 49 former lawmakers identified in the COA audit report tried their luck in local races this year. But only 29 of them succeeded.
This includes 13 governors, 3 vice governors, 10 mayors, 2 vice mayors, and 1 councilor.
|Florencio T. Miraflores||governor||Aklan|
|Al Francis C. Bichara||governor||Albay|
|Elias C. Bulut Jr||governor||Apayao|
|Gerardo J. Espina Jr||governor||Biliran|
|Edgardo M. Chatto||governor||Bohol|
|Douglas R.A. Cagas||governor||Davao del Sur|
|Nelson L. Dayanghirang||governor||Davao Oriental|
|Antonio T. Kho||governor||Masbate|
|Herminia M. Ramiro||governor||Misamis Occidental|
|Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano||governor||Misamis Oriental|
|Carlos M. Padilla||governor||Nueva Vizcaya|
|Alfonso V. Umali Jr||governor||Oriental Mindoro|
|Sharee Ann T. Tan||governor||Samar|
|Manuel E. Zamora||vice governor||Compostela Valley|
|Gregorio T. Ipong||vice governor||Cotabato|
|Franklin P. Bautista||vice governor||Davao Occidental|
|Arthur F. Celeste||mayor||Alaminos City, Pangasinan|
|Mauricio G. Domogan||mayor||Baguio City|
|Oscar G. Malapitan||mayor||Caloocan City|
|Philip A. Pichay||mayor||Cantilan, Surigao del Sur|
|Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay||mayor||Makati City|
|Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo||mayor||Mambajao, Camiguin|
|Marcelino R. Teodoro||mayor||Marikina City|
|Arturo B. Robes||mayor||San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan|
|Eduardo R. Gullas||mayor||Talisay City, Cebu|
|Maria Isabelle G. Climaco||mayor||Zamboanga City|
|Bernardo F. Piñol Jr||vice mayor||Kidapawan City, Cotabato|
|Antonio P. Yapha Jr||vice mayor||Toledo City, Cebu|
|Adam Relson L. Jala||councilor||Tagbilaran, Bohol|
Majority of these local poll winners left Congress before the PDAF was abolished. Only 9 of them were still House members when the SC decided on the pork barrel:
- Franklin Bautista (Davao del Sur 2nd district)
- Al Francis Bichara (Albay 2nd district)
- Mar-len Abigail Binay (Makati City 2nd district)
- Nelson Dayanghirang (Davao Oriental 1st district)
- Carlos Padilla (Nueva Vizcaya lone district)
- Philip Pichay (Surigao del Sur 1st district)
- Arturo Robes (San Jose del Monte City lone district)
- Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City 1st district)
- Alfonso Umali Jr (Oriental Mindoro 1st district)
At least 2 gubernatorial winners who were cited in the COA audit report defeated contenders who were also identified in the report.
In Davao Oriental, the Liberal Party’s Dayanghirang won against Thelma Almario of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. COA said the two released P5.4 million each of their pork barrel to questionable NGOs.
Meanwhile, in Masbate, the Nacionalista Party’s Antonio Kho defeated Narciso Bravo Jr of the National Unity Party and outgoing governor Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of the NPC. COA questioned Kho’s P9.7 million and Bravo’s P2.7 million releases.
Lanete, whom the COA report said released P107.3 million, was charged with plunder and 11 counts of graft, and was detained in February 2015. She was, however, allowed to join the local race, and was even granted bail a month before the elections.
There are 5 poll winners, however, whose fate in the whole PDAF scam remains uncertain.
In August 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered a preliminary investigation and administrative proceedings against various officials, including Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) head Villanueva.
Then in March 2016, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the findings of probable cause to indict 5 officials. Four of them – Biazon, Cagas, Pingoy, and Olaño – ran and won in this year’s elections.
Luckily for the 5, the Ombudsman’s orders were never an issue for their candidacies since no formal charges were filed against them.
Will the country see more legal action on the PDAF scam issue under the next administration? – Rappler.com