Palace doubts pork scam will lead to PNoy's downfall

Posted at 05/20/14 4:53 PM

MANILA - A Palace official doesn't think the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam allegedly perpetrated by Janet Lim Napoles will lead to the downfall of the Aquino administration.

This, a day after President Benigno Aquino III warned that the conflicting lists of alleged pork barrel scam beneficiaries may be an attempt to sabotage the prosecution of the pork barrel scam.

"Ano 'yung phrase? 'Bring the whole house down.' Pare-pareho na lang tayong may kasalanan, etcetera; guluhin ang usapan," Aquino had said.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma on Tuesday said, "I think the appropriate figure of speech is 'burn the house down.' We will have to check the actual recording or the transcript. Our focus is on the search for truth and justice regardless of what certain individuals would like to do or will plan to do. That's why we have sounded a call for our people to stay focused on the search for truth and justice."

Coloma was not bothered when he was asked if the scam will hurt the administration the way the Hello Garci scandal hurt the Arroyo administration.

"Ang pamahalaan ay tumatayo sa pamamagitan ng suporta at tangkilik ng mga mamamayan, sa pagtitiwala ng mga mamamayan. Meron tayong proseso ng demokrasya na ang sinusunod natin ay ang rule of law," he said.

He also reiterated the President's warning.

"President Aquino is urging the people to stay focused on the search for truth and justice in connection with the alleged misuse of PDAF funds. He also cautioned the public about the 'burn the house down' strategy being resorted to by some quarters that might lead to tracking misleading information and dissipate case build-up efforts in the remaining two years of the current administration."

The Hello Garci scandal, which began with the release of allegedly wiretapped conversations supposedly between then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and then Elections Commissioner Virgilio Harciliano to rig the 2004 elections, plunged the administration into political turmoil.

The pork barrel scam involves the alleged siphoning of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) into bogus projects that were allegedly implemented by parties linked to Napoles.

Aquino Cabinet members Joel Villanueva, Butch Abad and Proceso Alcala have been dragged into the scandal by at least three different lists of alleged scam beneficiaries, prompting Aquino on Monday to suspect that there was an attempt to sabotage the investigation.