Miriam: Jail all solons in pork barrel scam

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At a press conference on Wednesday, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago says her colleagues in the Senate should not be imprisoned for life if found guilty of involvement in the PDAF mess. Photo By Edwin Muli

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago says her colleagues in the Senate should not be imprisoned for life if found guilty of involvement in the PDAF mess. Photo By Edwin Muli

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago wants her colleagues implicated in the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) charged with plunder and jailed for life.

Santiago on Wednesday warned that the pork barrel scam could trigger destabilization moves against the Aquino administration if the government fails to punish government officials, including senators and congressmen, who poured public funds into bogus non-government organizations.

She said the news reports about the anomaly allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim-Napoles, and the affidavits of people who witnessed the implementation of the scam, can be used as evidence against the legislators and other government officials.

“The newspaper reports were based on affidavits executed by eye witnesses before the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), that constitutes evidence already,” Santiago told reporters.


She said that regardless of who are involved in the controversy, the government should file cases against them so as not to further anger the people.

The recent million people march at the Quirino Grandstand, she noted, is enough proof that the people wants the government to act.

Failure to charge officials linked to the scam will send the message that legislators are “untouchable” and this would not be good for the present administration.

Santiago prodded the task force composed of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit (COA) to start filing charges since it already has the affidavits of witnesses.

She said senators and congressmen cannot invoke immunity since such privilege only covers offenses with penalty not exceeding a jail term of six years.

“These whistleblowers—or at least most of them—appear to be eye witnesses; their testimony has strong weight in law and evidence,” Santiago told reporters. “The strongest evidence for prosecution is always the testimony of an eye witness.”

“The moment senators have cases filed against them, immediately they will have to be detained,” Santiago said.

She said she wants “life imprisonment and beyond that if possible” for those found guilty.

She said even lawmakers aged 70 or up can be charged, even if they are exempted from being detained.

Asked if she would visit any of her fellow senators in case any of them get detained, she said: “I won’t visit them, but I will send them CDs of my speeches.”

No interference
Malacañang on Wednesday assured the public that Cabinet members will not interfere in the pork barrel investigation.

”You can be assured that no Cabinet official is interfering with the investigation being conducted by NBI,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

He said Palace officials were not aware of the result of the NBI investigation, or who will be charged.

”We are waiting for the NBI investigation report. The only person who is aware fully of the NBI’s case build-up is Secretary Leila de Lima,” he said.

WITH REPORTS FROM CATHERINE VALENTE AND PNA

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29 Comments

  1. See them all on TV smiling, laughing and smirking at the charges they are faced with? they are telling Filipinos that they are all untouchable and that Filipino citizens are of no concern to them.
    a tax revolt is in order to bring them down to the common mans level.

    TAX REVOLT!!!!!

  2. Evelyn Patterson on

    Pls. Chance na ni Pnoy maging the Greatest Leader ng Pilipinas at talagang ituwid lahat ng pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan na naglulugmok ng bayan sa kahirapan.
    Apektado lalong lalo na ang mga mahihirap wala ng makain. Tulungan sana ni
    Senator Mirriam para ilabas lahat ng nagnakaw sa. Kaban natin!

  3. Good job! Sen Santiago walang takot. This is a great oppurtunity for PNoy to put action in his word. KAYO ANG BOSS KO!

  4. willie contreras on

    100% agree with the lady Senator… Spare no one… The best scenario of cleaning up the system and government as a whole because… almost everybody was involved… People that we put trust to lead us but failed and did evil things for their own benefit… THIS IS IT..
    And, to the Lady Senator,… don’t stop and we believe you..

  5. I honestly disagreed many times with Sen. Santiago in the past. Many, many times. But in the past weeks, she seems to be the only one in the Senate who actually makes sense!

  6. Why are they exempt for a 6 year sentence… how many people get that kind of special perk? Shouldn’t all laws be equal for all citizens.

  7. We need a guy like Sen Miriam Santiago and other honest senators to lead the pork barrel scam inquiry. Walang kinatatakutan at sinasanto at sa palagay ko ito lang tanging paraan para mapanagot ang may sala. Mayroon dapat managot at maparusaan or else may Edsa tayo.

  8. Papaano uunlad ang kabuhayan ng ating bansa at mamamayan sa ganitong ugali ng mga matataas na opisyales ng ating pamahalaan. Sobrang abusado at ‘di na maituturing na tao ang mga senadores at congresistang sangkot at gumamit kay Napoles. Lahat na kasali o sangkot sa anomaliyang ito ay dapat sampahan ng kaso, ikulong habang buhay kung mapatunayang nagkasala

  9. Fernando Habito on

    Bravisimo…Sen.Miriam..!.Jail them , frozen their bank accounts and garnish their assets..It’s time these Senatongs and Tongresmen! Be sure to investigate also their Foreign Bank Accounts and Assets.Once they are under investigations they should not be allowed to leave the country and escape like the Sen.Panfilo Lacson style.

  10. Good point Sen. Santiago! Pwede po unahin investigation sa inyo para po magkaroon ng credibilidad yong suggestion nyo po. :-)

  11. At this point, we need a high caliber and intelligent woman like Sen. Miriam D. Santiago to fully expose the PDAF scam in order to punish the guilty, Hope after these exposure our leaders will be enlightened to do the lesser evil and work hard for the benefits of our country and people.

    • When I was a boy, I overheard people from other country said that Philippines is a nation of thieves. With the scale of the involvement of many legislators, including seasoned politicians and high government officials, I started to see the truth.

  12. All of you must thank Napoles, You know why if this High ranking official used a very smart person in place of Napoles, them you will not find out in a hundred years. Its only common sense, that Napoles could not do such thing without the blessing of the Master mind. I will give you an example: A police man with a rank of Sargent doing a tong collection, do you think this Sargent will do such thing if his officer did not give him an instruction to do it, and if he refuse you will see this sargent will be station in the cemetery guarding the dead. SO! you people and the NPA protector of the poor, seeker of truth and Justice for all, Don’t punish the small one, punish those people who give them order to do it. OK!

  13. I agree with Sen. Santiago’s proposal that those senators implicated in pork barrel should be charged with plunder and be jailed in life. Panahon na, para masampolan ang mga mambabatas na bumubutas sa kaban ng bayan at sa bulsa ni Juan dela Cruz.

    • In China, they kill those plunderers. There is no point in wasting more people’s money to keep them in jails.

  14. Evelyn B. Belleza on

    if the government will not punish those who are guilty, then the government should not ask us to pay our taxes in the future.

  15. I bet my ass, nobody will go to jail among this corrupt senators / congressmen.
    Its only in the Philippines.

  16. Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

    The Senators and Congressmen mentioned by COA involved in giving their PDAF to FAKE NGO’s not once but several times should do a Nonatus Rojas-RESIGN, PLEASE, for DELIKADEZA??? Di ba ho, Honorable Sirs ???

  17. Mabuhay kayo ma’am miriam. Sana ito na ang paniningil ng Dios sa mga taong nagluklok sa bansa sa labis na hirap na ang karamihan sa mga tao sa pinas ay lumayas na lang sa ibang bansa upang makhanap ng trabaho mapa-kain lang ang gutom na pamilya sa pinas. Sana tutukan sa gobyerno ang mga bayan namin sa northern Mindanao na sa ngayun maraming naghirap dahil wala at wala ang local government nagawa sa mga liblib na baranggays sa mg infra projects lalo na sa farm to market roads. Maimbistigahan na ang Internal /Revenue Allotment sa bawat municipyo para matuklasan na kung saan napunta.

  18. The pork barrel thievery revelation is a big opportunity for President Aquino to be the first president to lead the Filipinos out of the corrupt culture we all had accustomed of. From the General Pabaon, Fertilizer scam, ZTE Broadband and hundreds more, it is about time to start making a headway for a change. I agree wholeheartedly with Senator Santiago that no one who had their hands in the “cookie jar” should be spared, regardless of their standing in society. The Estradas, Revillas, Enriles of the world should all be processed through the existing Philippine laws, and be punished accordingly.

  19. Time for Pnoy to show great courage. This will define his legacy and decide if he will known as graft and corruption fighter or or we go down like Arroyo or Marcos.

  20. Wait, Lady Miriam, let us wait for the 2011 to 2013 COA audit report, if any, so the citizens will have a better picture and complete list of those we are going to prosecute and jail. In short, the list is not yet complete and I am 100% sure, same will increase.

  21. gerald Martinez on

    Mr. president , prosecute all those legislators before the anger of the filipino people.

  22. Silverio Tolentino on

    Wait until the NBI submits their report to Malacanang first, before any public disclosure be made, to ascertain that it jibes with the wishes of the power that be.

    This was done with the report on the Luneta fiasco, so let us hope that this time, DOJ comes out with an unfiltered report on the PDAF scam.

  23. A bigger rally and million march will happen if Aquino Government will not heed the call and may give the, President a horror of his life. Vice Pres. Binay knows people at already tired of practice of daily corruption. This may even lead to Aquino’s downfall don’t be so sure or complacent to your Post. Because your mandate that you get last 2010 Presidential derby is the result of your battle cry or crusade. If no corrupt then no poor. Weeding out of corruption but these is the first time of these magnitude that corruption happening in broad day light and there’s an evidence to debunked the so called source of pork barrel scam. All those misuse and abuse their discretion in siphoning and embezzling funds must bring to justice. If an ordinary citizen wad caught of pickpocket or stealing items he will put to jail. How much more these helluva stashing million of funds. Aquino’s Government will be shattered if he did not address these properly.

  24. jebert banderas on

    Dapat lang walang exempted sa batas,para ang mga sumunod matakot,yung nagnakaw lang ng bigas dahil walang makain nakukulong e.panahon na ipatupad ang batas kahit mayayaman na sila billionaire na ikukulong yan.