The Senate blue ribbon committee, headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, should not stop its investigation of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam, with plunder charges having been filed against three of his colleagues and Janet Lim Napoles.
To pull off the scam, Napoles was said to have created 82 fake non-government organizations (NGOs), based on a report of the Commission on Audit (COA) to the blue ribbon committee.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon Revilla Jr. are accused of channeling their respective PDAF or “pork barrel” to Napoles’ equally bogus foundations running the NGOs and holding P10 billion in total PDAF.
One wonders if Guingona will still continue investigating the misuse of the people’s money after finding the three senators culpable of abusing the public fund. Well, he should!
Napoles’ foundations only received P10 billion but 71 other bogus NGOs got over P100 billion of “pork” funds from several more lawmakers in both Houses of Congress. So, why stop now?
If Sen. Guingona does not know where to start or continue with his committee’s inquiry, he can always check the list of the bogus NGOs given to the Senate by COA.
The Pangkabuhayan Foundation, reportedly owned by a certain “Miss Gay Tang,” is the second top beneficiary of PDAF funds amounting to almost P400 million, according to the same COA report.
My informant from COA, who begged not to be identified, said a “Cong. U” from the Bicol Region, “Cong. C” from a partylist of inmates, “Cong. S” of Sulu and a “Cong. S.” of Camanava allegedly were the benefactors of “Miss Tang’s” foundation.
These members of Congress channeled most, if not all, of their PDAF to the Pangkabuhayan Foundation, even if they were aware that it will just go to “ghost” projects, according to my informant.
And just like Napoles, who had Benhur Luy to pay off the lawmakers, Tang’s foundation has one “Aling Evelyn Mirinda” to do its dirty job.
The same COA informant fears that if the blue ribbon panel would really want to go after crooked lawmakers, there may no longer be quorums in both Houses of Congress after the committee’s investigation.
Several other senators and a dozen more congressmen have also diverted their PDAF to the 71 other NGOs, said my spy at COA.
So, if Sen. Guingona is really bent in going after corrupt officials of the land, his committee should continue with its inquiry no matter if those who will be found to be involved in the scam are his or the administration’s allies.
As former Manila Mayor Fred Lim puts it, “The law applies to all, otherwise none at all.”