MANILA - A senator wants the plunder trial in the pork barrel scam controversy to be finished by early 2015 or about 500 days before a new President takes over in 2016.
??In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the pork scam controversy should be considered case closed within 500 days before the change of administration in 2016.
Cayetano, who is reportedly eyeing a presidential bid in the 2016 poll, said the new President will definitely have a say in the pork scam investigation if the trial drags on.
"Kung sinuman ang magiging Presidente sa 2016, huwag tayong magbulag-bulagan, magkakaroon ng epekto yan sa kaso nitong tatlo," he said.
The Ombudsman on Friday filed before the Sandiganbayan plunder charges against alleged pork scam architect Janet Lim Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada and other individuals for their alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso scam.
The other accused are Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes, Pauline Labayen, Richard Cambe, John Raymund De Asis and Ronald John Lim.
Revilla is accused of pocketing at least P224.51 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF), Estrada P183.79 million in PDAF; and Enrile P172.83 million.
Cayetano said a swift trial would benefit Senators Estrada, Enrile and Revilla Jr, who all claimed innocence in the scam. He also backed the request of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for the SC to designate at least two special divisions in the Sandiganbayan to exclusively try the pork barrel cases.
The senator also urged the Supreme Court to allow live media coverage of the plunder trial.
"Lahat ay nililigawan ang publiko. Ang judiciary, gustong ipakita na fair siya at nanliligaw sa public opinion at mataas ang standards ng judiciary natin. Ang prosecution, nililigawan ang tao para ipakita na guilty talaga ang accused. Ang depensa, nililigawan din ang tao para ipakita na pinulitika lang o hindi totoong guilty ang kanilang kliyente. So makikita mo, win-win situation ang isang coverage," he said.