MANILA - If it wasn't stolen, where did the money go?
Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Monday said his colleagues, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, must explain how their pork barrel funds were spent after they were accused of pocketing their priority development assistance funds (PDAF).
Outright denials from the three senators and accusations of politicking are also not enough to explain the controversy, he said.
"Mahirap naman po yun. Suffice it to say, mabigat yung akusasyon. May dapat ipaliwanag sila at may dapat silang sagutin. Hindi maaaring balewalain at sabihin pulitika lang ito," he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila.
The three senators are among 38 respondents facing plunder, bribery and malversation charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly conspiring with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and officials of implementing agencies on stealing pork barrel funds.
Revilla is accused of pocketing P224.5 million in kickbacks from Napoles, Estrada allegedly pocketed P183.79 million in the scam while Enrile allegedly got P172.8 million, according to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Pork scam whistle-blowers said lawmakers involved in the scam allegedly got a 50 percent cut of all pork barrel funds that were funneled to Napoles-linked NGOs. The three senators have denied the accusations.
Escudero said outright denials are not enough since each senator is allotted P200 million in yearly pork barrel funds before the Supreme Court declared the funds as unconstitutional.
"The only problem with that kind of defense yung 'hindi tooto, hindi ko alam...' May 200 million kami kada taon e. Hindi naman pwedeng may ibang gumamit doon na hindi ko alam. Siguro kung finorge yung pirma niyo sa P200 million, nasaan yung totoong pinirmahan? Nasaan yung original P200 million dahil wala kayong kinalaman diyan e. Alangan naman may ibang gumamit na hindi niyo naamoy," he said.