Belmonte backs people's initiative vs pork barrel
MANILA - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte is supporting the proposal of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno for a people’s initiative to remove the pork barrel system from the Constitution.
"I am all for it. Because if it arouses the people to assert themselves, and say ganito, I am all for it," Belmonte said Wednesday.
"Baka at some point, baka sabihin huwag lang yung PDAF. Ano ba yung akin? Yung economic provisions [ng Constituion].
"Sabihin mo kay CJ Puno. Baka puwede [isama]. Sabihin mo na rin kay Chief Justice Puno. This is already people’s initiative, isama mo na rin dito," he said, referring to proposed changes in the Constitution.
Belmonte has a previous proposal to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
The lower House leader, however, said he won't initiate it. "I want to concentrate on being a congressman and a Speaker."
Belmonte, meantime, said he is confident that Congress can recover from the negative image cast on it by the pork barrel scam.
"Dito, comparatively speaking, kokonti lang naman yung mga congressmen na nabanggit ang pangalan, and I'd like to reiterate my own view which is that if it happened to you once, that's not inconsistent with bad faith," he said.
"Baka dahil sa bagito ka, nakumbinse ka ng somebody, that could happen. Ang sinasabi ko, kung you do it repeatedly, repeatedly, mahirap sabihing I'm in good faith all the time," Belmonte said.
"It will be able to recover, especially now that we know that out of 292 congressmen na iilan-ilan lang naman iyung… Just think about it, that we know, ilan yung current congressmen na nababanggit dun sa Napoles case. Ilan yung nakaupo ngayon sa 16th Congress? Apat. So, isipin ninyo iyun," he added.
"We are 294. Ako, I am very unhappy na nako-condemn itong ating whole institution on that," he said.