FORMER senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday revealed that President Benigno Aquino 3rd advised him to use his P200-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, but he turned him down.
The former police general who completed his two six-year Senate terms in June said he could not in conscience use the pork barrel to enrich himself or to finance his projects.
“The President talked to me sometime in 2011 and told me to use my allocated PDAF. But I refused, saying I know how it is being abused,” Lacson told The Manila Times at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.
“He said I can use my pork barrel provided I implement it correctly,” he added.
Lacson said he knew of colleagues who also refused to use their pork barrel at first but eventually did upon the prodding of the President.
The former senator, however, said not all lawmakers are greedy.
“In 2003, not all were getting commissions,” he added.
The Supreme Court ruled early this month that PDAF is unconstitutional. The legality of the pork barrel was questioned following charges that a huge slice of the pork barrel of several lawmakers was released to nongovernment organizations controlled by Janet Lim Napoles.
Three senators—Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada—were charged with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged abuse of the PDAF.
The National Bureau of Investigation is set to file charges of malversation against several members of the House of Representatives for releasing their PDAF to questionable groups.
Lacson said that Aquino needs the support of all government officials and the public in his drive to stop graft and corruption.
“He should be supported by his Cabinet members and the entire government machinery. It is seldom that we have a truly clean President. My advise is for him not to be selective and include even those who are his allies in the Lower House and the Senate,” he said.