By TYRONE A. VELEZ
Davao City – Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s speech accusing fellow senators and congressmen of misuse of PDAF, including the ruling Liberal Party’s bribe to win favors, earned more fire for anti-pork protesters from Davao.
The senator, who is the son of former ousted President Joseph Estrada, cried ‘selective justice’ why he and two other opposition senators were singled out in charges filed in the Ombudsman for corruption of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) through suspect Janet Lim-Napoles.
Estrada accused that Malacañang offered Php 50 million for senators to vote for the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on 2012.
Gabriela partylist representative Luzviminda Ilagan said: “It only confirms what the public already suspects. We believe (Malacañang) is involved. What we are interested in is the prosecution of all, not only the opposition. We can understand the reaction of Jinggoy but the public is more interested in seeing the allies of the president also exposed and prosecuted.”
For Sr. Noemi Degala SMSM, Executive Secretary of Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (SAMIN), Estrada’s exposé does not lessen his accountability.
“It is very well for him to make those expose, but I would had admired if he did not on a situation that he has to defend himself from a plunder case. Thanks Jinggoy, but he needs to be accountable and therefore needs to accept responsibility for his actions,” Sr. Degala said.
Graphic Artist and videographer Sherwin Desierto said he doubts Estrada’s intention.
“Parehong makatotohanan at di makatotohanan. Maaring paraan nya ito para malinis ang pangalan nya or di kaya mandamay pa ng iba para magulo ang isyu. (It could be true or false. It could be a way to clear his name or drag everyone else to the issue),” Desierto said.
But he said Aquino allies whom Estrada accused should be investigated as well.
“Kung totoo man ay isang panibagong iskandalo ito sa pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan at posibleng may kinalaman ang Malacañang dyan na dapat nilang linawin. Yung mga pangalang nabanggit nya eh pwedeng imbestigahan din. (If this is true, then this is another scandal involving the people’s money and possibly involving Malacañang. Those whom he mentioned should be investigated.)”
While one local filmmaker call Estrada’s expose a “desperate move to wash his name”, hair stylist Wilfredo Villocino said it was “sickening” to hear this exposé and called for an investigation. “Dapat tanan jud managot (Everyone should be held accountable) including P-Noy and his cohorts,” VIllocino said.
Dr. Jack Estuart commented that “there used to be honor among thieves. But now we see an accused Senator plunderer ratting on his fellow crooks as he is crying persecution. A pathetic ploy played out before the whole nation. Pitiful, our country, that is.”
Lawyer and former city councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad sees the exposé as “a classic example” of fighting among elite “to eliminate each other especially if the economic pie is getting smaller and smaller. This is the face of bureaucrat capitalism.”
Librado-Trinidad said this situation, where elite politicians are infighting among themselves, leaves people no choice but to intensify their protests.
“I believe our fight against corruption and bureaucrat capitalism must intensify as no one can effectively carry out this fight but us,” she said.
For Bayan Muna Representative Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate, the exposé “did not really unmask the rottenness of the pork barrel system, it fell short of totally exposing the degree of corruption in the Senate and other agencies.”
Zarate added that “the trajectory of the anti-pork barrel campaign should not be dictated by these self-serving politicians.”
As the House tackles the 2014 budget in the plenary, Zarate, Ilagan and five other members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives filed a bill mandating the transfer of the president’s Malampaya funds to the general fund subject to congressional appropriation.
The bill aims to address alleged government misuse of the revenues earned from the Malampaya natural gas exploration in Palawan because of “unfettered presidential discretion over the funds.”
The Makabayan bloc said some Php 15 billion worth of funds were spent on projects and departments in Aquino’s three years which were not related to energy projects as the law stipulated.
Ilagan said the Malampaya Fund should be used to rehabilitate dams and power plants in Mindanao which has of late been suffering from an energy crisis.
The group earlier demanded for the scrapping of other presidential funds and subject to congressional appropriation. (Tyrone A. Velez, davaotoday.com)abolish pork barrel, Bayan Muna, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gabriela, Jinggoy Estrada, Luz Ilagan, pdaf, pork barrel