THIS early, Sen. Miriam Santiago has begun a blistering campaign for the 2016 national elections—not for voters to give her another mandate but to reject politicians who have been linked to the P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, including those who kept mum on the issue.
Santiago, in an address at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas City appealed to students not to vote for senators and congressmen, facing graft and corruption charges and complaints at the office of the Ombudsman.
The feisty senator also discouraged students from supporting lawmakers who are consistently silent on the pork barrel scam issues or those who are playing safe.
Although every person enjoys a presumption of innocence, Santiago said, if the Ombudsman files a case against a politician for plunder in the Sandiganbayan, this means that she has in her possession enough evidence to allow the trial court to rule in favor of the government.
According to Santiago, the 2016 presidential elections will be a test of leadership during these dark days when government is investigating the pork barrel scandal involving Janet Lim-Napoles, her dubious non-government organizations, and certain politicians.
Voters should also not support politicians who purposely refrain from participating in the national debate on the pork barrel scandal.
Santiago tagged these politicos as cowards, for refusing to take a position for fear of incurring the anger of the guilty ones.
“[Such a] candidate is an opportunist. He does not act out of conviction, but acts out of what is convenient for himself,” she said.
She insisted that a politician who wants to become a wise guy by being friends with everybody—corrupt or not—is not a leader and this should guide voters in selecting their leaders in 2016.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., are among the scores of respondents in the plunder and malversation complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation at the office of the Ombudsman last year.
Revilla was recently named by his party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats as its standard bearer in 2016, while Estrada was reportedly targeting the vice presidential post.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, one of the leaders of the opposition already declared his plan to run as president. He is not implicated in the scam but the vice president is being criticized for not issuing strong statements against the controversy wherein some of his allies are suspected to have taken part in.
Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, has been raising his concern over Binay’s position against corruption because of his refusal to make strong statements on the PDAF issue.