Jinggoy could question Executive's pork - Sotto
MANILA - There is more to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s much awaited privilege speech on Wednesday afternoon besides turning the tables on some of his colleagues.
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said Estrada has been “keeping his cards close to his chest, he has not exposed what he wants to say.”
He believes, however, that his ally in the minority will question allegations “where procedures have been done not only by the legislative, but the executive, which the Commission on Audit has not been questioning.”
Estrada will “spend time answering allegations and mistakes” in the audit of the COA, he said.
Sotto himself questioned an earlier audit, where COA presented to the media the names of lawmakers who have allegedly funneled their pork funds to bogus non-government organizations supposedly set up by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Besides Estrada, the names of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla have also been linked to the scam.
Sotto’s name also earlier cropped up, but he categorically denied his role in the matter. “We are still in the process of checking [distribution of past pork funds]. We have yet to receive the full report. The initial report, so far, shows there are no irregularities.”
He said COA should be able to obtain the answers of lawmakers first before releasing to the media an unfinished report that has already drawn conclusions of guilt.
“That raises the question, who is monitoring the COA? It is a question since the time of Julius Caesar: Who will guard the guardians?”
Sotto said to end the accusations, he has already decided to forego his remaining pork funds. “It’s a source of corruption, allegations, so many things. I might as well get rid of it.”
Nonetheless, legislators are at the lower part of the “full chain” when it comes to disbursing the funds.
“He might not be the less guilty, he might not even be guilty. The one who knows where the money goes is the implementing agency,” he said.
The implementing agencies are usually the government offices attached to the executive.