No law needed for daily pork scam trials: Cayetano
MANILA - Congress does need to pass a law that will allow daily trials of the alleged P10 billion pork barrel scam involving lawmakers as well as other high-profile cases, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday.
In a statement, Cayetano said the Supreme Court can designate special criminal courts on its own as was similarly done during the time of former president Fidel Ramos. SC Administrative Order 51-96 in 1996 designated special criminal courts in Metro Manila and other cities to hear cases involving heinous crimes and finish the trial within 60 days.
The senator said the special courts were designated to try and decide cases of kidnapping, robbery, dangerous drugs, carnapping and other heinous crimes under Republic Act No. 7659 "in the interest of speedy and efficient administration of justice..."
Cayetano said the speedy disposition of cases is needed to fend off political and legal maneuvers.
"Habang tumatagal ang kaso, nawawala ang ibang witnesses. Nagkakasakit, umaalis ng bansa o namamatay ang mga may alam sa kaso. Nawawala ang mga dokumento," he said.
"That is why ang advice ko para mawala din ang pag-iisip ng ating mga kababayan na mababago ito ng politika: Number one, magkaroon ng continuous trial and Number two, dapat lahat ay magbigay ng buong suporta, kakampi man nila o kalaban, kaalyado man sa pulitika o hindi," he added.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV earlier warned that alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles could be biding her time until a new president is elected in the the 2016 polls.
Trillanes said Napoles is careful in mentioning individuals whom she supposedly had transactions with, as there is a possibility that these people or their allies might retain power in 2016.
"Hindi magsasalita iyan dahil tataya iyan sa magiging susunod na presidente ng Pilipinas para mamasahe ang kanilang mga kaso, o mabigyan muna ng pyansa tapos para kinalaunan makakalimutan ng kababayan natin, mawawala na lang yan," Trillanes said.
"Sa tingin ko kasi ang nakikita nila is malapit na itong eleksyon eh. Kung magtitiis siya, maaari kung mananalo ang kanyang manok, eh mamamasahe ang kaso niya. Kung magsasalita siya ngayon, marami siyang makakaaway na baka ito ang mga naka-pwesto sa susunod. So kailangan masigurado niya muna. Ngayon, kung matatalo ang manok niya sa 2016 malamang magsasalita na iyan."
Napoles, Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and 34 other individuals are facing plunder charges over the alleged misuse of an estimated P10 billion worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or "pork barrel."
The businesswoman is accused of setting up fake non-government organizations where legislators allegedly funneled their respective PDAFs to get kickbacks.
So far, only Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance has declared intention to run for president. Binay is a known ally of Estrada and Enrile, two of the lawmakers at the center of the scam.