An anti-corruption advocacy group is considering filing charges against officials linked to the pork barrel scam reportedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
The Alliance of Good Governance (AGG) on Saturday said it has observed that many officials reportedly involved in the scam are either seeking reelection or gunning for other elective posts.
AGG mentioned at least two politicians—Quezon City 1st district congressional candidate Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo and Cagayan de Oro 2nd district congressional bet Maximo Rodriguez Jr.—who have been accused by the Commission on Audit (COA) to have misused their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by releasing money to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).
Crisologo is trying to regain the Quezon City 1st district congressional seat he held in 2004 to 2013.
Rodriguez, the incumbent Abante Mindanao party-list representative, is trying to get the congressional seat of his elder brother Rufus whose final term ends in June.
Many of those implicated have not been impleaded and are now running for re-election, AGG said.
This, it added, sets a bad precedent and proves that the campaign to get rid of corruption in government is selective and perpetuates a culture of impunity.
“We are trying to fight impunity by proving that powerful politicians, many belonging to dynasties, are within the reach of the long arm of the law,” said AGG spokesman Alberto Vicente.
The Special COA audit for calendar years 2007-2009 listed Crisologo as having received P178 million for hard and soft projects.
The COA report said there were PDAF releases that “were not efficiently monitored and tracked.”
At least three Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) under the name of Crisologo have “unutilized balance” and that this had expired and should be returned to the national government.
“These NGOs may need to be traced to determine whether these are bogus or not,” Vicente said. “Winning the election despite spotty track record is bad because it makes fun of the rule of law.”
Rodriguez, on the other hand, had been named by Napoles as an agent for the pork barrel transactions of his elder brother Rufus who is now running for mayor of Cagayan de Oro.
“The pursuit of justice should not be selective and it should not lose stamina,” said Vicente who admitted coming forward to rid government of corruption is difficult and risky. “But somebody, some groups have to bite the bullet for the sake of our country and the next generation of Filipinos.”
AGG is an independent anti-corruption campaign organization composed of professionals and community leaders from different parts of the country.
Its campaign in the past includes exposes against corruption in judiciary, particularly the Court of Appeals and rice smuggling.