President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday said he is not threatened by the nationwide rally against pork barrel misuse.
“Why should we be afraid? More people are joining the clamor for fixing the system. I want to thank them,” Aquino said in Filipino.
The President promised to go after the persons who misused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
“My directives to all agencies and members of government are clear: Extend your full aid and cooperation so that the truth may be uncovered, and so that the guilty may be held accountable,” he said.
“There are those who treat PDAF as their own private fund, to use as they please. This is clearly wrong. What is involved here is the people’s money; it should be used for the benefit of the people, and not for the benefit of a few greedy individuals,” he said
“The shocking revelations of this misuse—the latest being the COA Special Audit Report on the 2007-2009 PDAF, which was released this past week—are truly scandalous,” Aquino said.
The President vouched for the impartiality and integrity of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan, who will spearhead an inter-agency inquiry into the scandal, saying they will “work together to accelerate the process, from investigation, to prosecution, to putting people behind bars, and even to asset recover.”
He said he would like see a conviction under his term, but admitted it would difficult to promise.
He expected to case to take three to five years, saying, “You’re going to go through of all the appeals, processes, et cetera.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE