3 senators could go to jail over pork scam: Miriam
MANILA - Several lawmakers including 3 senators linked to the P10 billion pork barrel scam could face suspension and even go to jail if a plunder case is filed against them, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said Monday.
In her keynote speech at National Student Conference on Hotel and Restaurant Management at the SM Mall of Asia, Santiago said that under the anti-plunder act, lawmakers involved in the pork barrel scam will be automatically suspended from Congress if the prosecutor decides to file a case in court.
Santiago said that once the report and findings of the Justice Secretary, Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit chairman are released, at least 3 senators will be recommended for preliminary investigation.
If the prosecutor decides to file a case in court, then the judge will hold a bail hearing to determine whether evidence of guilt is strong. If so, bail will be denied to the accused and the they will have to stay in jail during the course of the trial.
On the controversial transfer of pork barrel to non-governmental organizations linked to Janet Lim Napoles, Santiago said that the budget law allows public funds to be transferred to NGOs but the procedure provided by law has been deliberately ignored.
Santiago explained that Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) are always released to implementing agencies and never to an NGO. The choice of NGO, if the law is followed, is subject to competitive bidding and negotiated procurement.
The senator said the pork barrel system should be abolished for all members of Congress, and it should not be left to the individual senator or representative to waive his pork barrel because the money will either simply go to his colleagues or to the corrupt bureaucrats.
She said it is time for the Supreme Court to revisit this problem surrounding the pork barrel controversy.