by Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – Three senators and more than 20 congressman may face criminal charges over alleged misuse and abuse of their pork barrel, according to former Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Lacson has been endorsed by some lawmakers to investigate the so-called pork barrel scam.
The two-term senator, in an interview on ANC’s Beyond Politics, vividly remembers his privilege speech on March 11, 2003 wherein he called on fellow senators to give up their pork barrel amounting to P200 million a year.
He was bracing for his colleagues’ reaction to his proposal.
“Eh pag session resume sunod nun, session adjourned. Ayun, walang impact, dedma, sabi ko nga eh 10 years ago nagrally akong mag-isa, walang sumunod, walang naging impact, pero I remember, I think ANC covered that live yung speech na iyun,” he said.
Ten years later, Lacson’s solitary call was being echoed by tens of thousands of Filipinos outraged by reports of corruption in the congressional pork barrel.
Lacson welcomes the public’s reaction, as well as President Aquino’s decision to stop releasing lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
However, Lacson added that suspending the PDAF or abolishing the pork barrel won’t stop misuse and abuse of taxpayers’ money by their own representatives.
“Kapag may na-issuehan ng warrant of arrest na congressman o senador palagay ko magigising lahat baka wala anang mag-misuse. I’ll bet you they’ll be not only careful, ‘di ito biro-biro na,” he said.
Following calls for him to probe the pork barrel scam, Lacson said he is ready to investigate his former colleagues and other lawmakers whether by presidential mandate or congressional resolution.
This early, information and evidence have started to pour in.
“Narinig ko iyung interview kay [whisteblowers’ lawyer] Atty. [Levito] Baligod, he mentioned 3 senators and more than 20 congressmen. Iyun din ang info na narinig ko noon pa na matibay and they are still looking at the others,” he said.
“The rest, they’re trying to establish iyung direct hand nila. I think sa implementation,” he added. “Iyun ang masamang situation na sa mga name-mention whether congressman man or senator. Kasi this is plunder. Ang masakit nito yung mga tatamaan malamang, eh malamang no bail ito eh.”
Lacson, however, declined to identify those likely to be charged in the pork barrel scam and deferred instead to the investigating agencies. – ANC