IN order to make sure that the anti-corruption efforts of the Aquino administration will not be put to waste, a lawmaker is pushing for daily trials on the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam.
Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano said that conducting continuous trial on graft and corruption related charges filed against several lawmakers, government officials and private individuals would help expedite the resolution of cases and make the anti-corruption campaign of the government more meaningful.
Cayetano expressed concerns that political affiliations and loyalties may render all efforts of the present administration in weeding out graft and corruption in government meaningless, particularly the plunder and malversation cases filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) controversy.
He noted that the unfortunate reality is that the administration of justice in the country moves at a snail’s pace, and the resolution of the pork barrel scandal case, if it even reaches the courts, might go beyond 2016.
He cited as example the multiple murder case filed against the Ampatuan political clan who is said to be behind the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre which claimed the lives of 58 individuals including 31 journalists.
Cayetano noted that it has been four years since the massacre happened but nothing is happening with the case.
“The longer it takes, the more you give the powerful the chance to maneuver,” Cayetano said.
The senator said that a similar delay could happen in the PDAF scam case and that is why the Supreme Court should consider the proposal to have continuous trials on pork barrel scam cases.
The next administration, Cayetano said, would have the authority to choose its own DOJ secretary and officials of the NBI and there is no assurance if it would have the same dedication to pursue the PDAF scam case.
Sen. Francis Escudero, in a separate interview said that while the constitution guarantees the speedy trial of cases, conducting continuous trials is different and the Supreme Court doesn’t have rules for such hearings.
While, Escudero made it clear that it is the Supreme Court that would decide on how the PDAF scam hearings would be conducted, he expressed belief that what is important is that the court would hear and penalize those who will be found guilty.