Inter-agency body urged: Probe all 'pork' abuse
MANILA - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares is calling on the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) to probe all abuses of the lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) beyond 2007 to 2009.
"Sa akin, expand siyempre ang investigation if it went on 2007 to 2009. Did it start before? Tingnan 2004 to 2007. Did it continue after 2009? Tingnan 2010 to 2013. People have the right to demand that. Napakalaking pera ang Napoles scam. Tip of the iceberg lang pala Napoles scam. Dapat may comprehensive investigation dito," he said.
Colmenares said that even the Commission on Audit (COA), which is part of the inter-agency body, should be investigated.
"[Janet] Napoles could not have pulled this off without conspiracy. Imposibleng sampung taon walang kakuntsaba COA. Maraming pork nawaldas," he said.
Meanwhile, Colmenares rebutted Malacañang's statement that not all of the President's lump sum funds can be itemized in the national budget.
He said that even the calamity fund, which is often cited as an item that cannot be itemized ahead of time, can be broken down and discretion over it can be minimized.
"Napakadami pang unexpected emergencies, iyan ang sagot ng Malacañang. Calamity fund pwede paliitin, ibigay mo na as preparatory fund sa normal
provinces na dinadaanan ng bagyo."
Colmenares added that disbursements of the calamity fund should also be subjected to a collegial decision instead of presidential discretion.
"Pwede magka-calamity fund subject to collegial decision, di isang tao magdecide," he said.
He reiterated that the problem with lump sum funds is that they are dangerous and difficult to account for.
Colmenares also rebutted Malacañang's defense of the President's discretionary funds -- that these have all been audited by the COA.
"So was PDAF, PDAF audited by COA. Di porket in-audit ng COA, okay na yun bigyan ka ng lump sum."
The COA steps in after funds have already been spent, making it difficult -- if not impossible -- to recover any funds which were misused, he said.