All lawmakers should be covered by ‘pork’ audit, including VP Binay critics: anti-PDAF advocates

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015. Filed under: Philippine News
Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Kid Peña (right) is sworn in as Makati acting mayor on Tuesday. This is the second time Peña has been sworn in as acting mayor after the suspension order on Mayor Junjun Binay in March and again Tuesday for his involvement in the anomalous Makati Science High School building. (MNS photo)

Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Kid Peña (right) is sworn in as Makati acting mayor on Tuesday. This is the second time Peña has been sworn in as acting mayor after the suspension order on Mayor Junjun Binay in March and again Tuesday for his involvement in the anomalous Makati Science High School building. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) –The pork barrel funds of all lawmakers, including the critics of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the Senate, should be subjected to audit to ensure none of them were misused, at least two anti-pork barrel advocates said Thursday.

“My position ever since is for the Priority Development Assistance Fund and Disbursement Acceleration Program funds of all legislators to be scrutinized too,” said lawyer Levito Baligod, former counsel of the whistleblowers in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.

PDAF is the formal name of pork barrel, while DAP is the Aquino administration’s controversial program to speed up public spending and boost economic growth, a portion of which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

For his part, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda College Graduate School of Law and a known supporter of anti-pork barrel moves, said no lawmaker should be singled out in the audit. “All PDAF expenditures of legislators should be audited,” he said.

Aquino added that it should be “obvious” that all lawmakers should be audited regardless if they are administration allies or critics.

Binay, embroiled in a corruption controversy together with his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, on Tuesday challenged his critics in the Senate — Sens. Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Alan Peter Cayetano — to submit an audit of their respective projects funded by their PDAF, DAP, and other congressional insertions in the spirit of transparency.

But aside from focusing on pork barrel use from 2007 to 2009, as done by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation on the pork barrel scam, Baligod said the years 2004 to 2012 be also covered.

The DOJ investigation has resulted in the filing of a case against Sens. Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., all members of the opposition in the Senate, with the Sandiganbayan.

Baligod used to be the lawyer of whistleblower Benhur Luy and several other former employees of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, who is already detained along with Estrada, Enrile and Revilla.

Asked if it was possible to find out if pork barrel funds of lawmakers like Trillanes, Pimentel, and Cayetano were also misused, Baligod said: “Lalabas po iyan kapag mayroon impartial investigation and we can provide some information kung sakali.”

Binay and his son are currently being investigated by the Senate and the Ombudsman over the alleged overpricing in the Makati local government’s construction projects over the years.

The elder Binay is a former Makati mayor and is a strong contender in next year’s presidential election based on surveys. The younger Binay, meanwhile, is currently serving a six-month preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman.(MNS)

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