• House probe on PDAF scam faces stiff opposition

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    THE House Minority bloc’s move seeking a probe on the alleged P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam via a House Resolution has failed to gain support from the Majority Coalition, it was learned Tuesday.

    The House Minority bloc filed their House Resolution on 160 on Tuesday which tasks the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to conduct an investigation on the matter, but Liberal Party (LP) lawmakers Romero Quimbo of Marikina and Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar remained adamant that the House does not have the competencies needed for an impartial probe on themselves.

    “The magnitude and the destructive effects of PDAF scam must not be swept into oblivion since the issue is destroying the trust that members of Congress should enjoy from the people they represent,” the Minority bloc said in their House Resolution.

    But for the administration lawmakers, resorting to Congressional probe would only muddle the work of the proper authorities—a stance also taken by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City.

    “There is already the NBI and the DOJ and there are affidavits made by the witnesses. The House doesn’t have the best record in investigating itself. Even if we exhaust all our efforts in this, there will always be an impression that we are protecting ourselves,” Quimbo, a lawyer, pointed out, referring to the National Bureau of Investigation.

    “If our findings contradict that of the NBI and DOJ, what would happen? We won’t achieve anything,” Quimbo added.

    Evardone agreed with Quimbo, saying that President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s support for the probe administered and the DOJ supersedes any congressional prove.

    “The highest leadership has already ordered the probe. What else are you looking for?,” Evardone added.

    But opposition lawmaker Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, refusing any initiative to probe the pork barrel scam fuels doubts that a number of the President’s allies are indeed involved in the misuse and abuse of their respective priority development assistance fund.

    “Barring any probe on the pork barrel scam is like allowing plunderers to escape accountability, it condones corruption and is a go signal for thieves to rob the nation’s coffers with impunity not just in Congress but in Malacanang as well,” Ilagan said in a separate statement.

    “A Congressional probe is needed for the congress to verify whether discretionary funds are indeed effective in addressing the basic social needs of the people or whether these funds are merely effective venues for corruption and political patronage,” she added in closing.

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