MANILA - Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. should resign amid "overwhelming evidence" against them in connection with the pork barrel scam, "Million People March" organizers said Thursday.
In other countries, mere hint of wrongdoing is enough for public officials to resign from their posts, according to a statement by Scrap Pork Network's Peachy Tan and Betty Romero.
"Senators, yield now," they said.
The Scrap Pork Network said it welcomes the Ombudsman's indictment of the 3 lawmakers. "We eye this forward but slow movement in the meting out of justice with cautious approval."
The group, however, said "the P600 million in cumulative kickback allegedly received by the three senators is but the tip of the iceberg of fund scams."
"We have every reason to believe that the rape of our national budget is on a much grander scale," it added. "Seven months after our protest in Luneta, we believe that a full accounting by, and prosecution of all involved, are overdue."
The "Million People March" organizers said other operators allegedly similar to Napoles must be investigated and brought to justice.
"It is estimated that an annual total of P200 billion is lost to rampant corruption and malversation of funds," they said. "The current administration’s 'Daang Matuwid' philosophy continues to be ignored by corrupt officials who steal budgets for food security or who chip away at monies intended for public infrastructure, defense systems, healthcare, education and social services."
The group said the government must do away with all forms of discretionary spending and pork barrel, investigate those who misuse public funds, and punish those found guilty.
OMBUDSMAN FINDS PROBABLE CAUSE
The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday said it found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against the 3 senators, as well as as businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, and several others tagged in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said the three senators "repeatedly received sums of money from [businesswoman Janet Napoles]" for several years.
Enrile allegedly plundered P172 million, Revilla’s at P242 million, and Estrada P183 million.
The 3 lawmakers and Napoles have claimed innocence.
It is the first time Philippine senators are facing such serious charges.
The Ombudsman also recommended plunder and/or graft charges against several others, including Enrile's former chief of staff Gigi Reyes, former Estrada social secretary Ruby Tuason, and Napoles brother' Reynald Lim.