MANILA - The public should remain on guard even as one senator has been detained in connection with the pork barrel scam, actress and political activist Mae Paner said Friday.
"Nakakatuwa naman na nakakakita ka ng isang senador dahil sa walang tigil ang tao sa pagbabantay ay may naumpisahan na," said Paner, who is more popularly known by her alter ego "Juana Change."
"Hindi pa ito ang gusto natin. Aapela pa iyan," she told radio dzMM.
"Ang gusto natin, conviction hindi lamang ng isa, kundi ng lahat ng guilty ng pandarambong sa lahat ng pera ng taumbayan," she added.
"Kasi, baka akala ng mga tao, okay na iyan. Hindi dapat ganoon. Dapat mas lalo pa tayong magbabantay ngayon," Paner said.
The Akbayan party-list group, meanwhile, welcomed the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and his eventual surrender to the Sandiganbayan over charges of plunder and graft stemming from the pork barrel fund scam.
Revilla is one of the first three senators implicated by whistleblowers in Janet Lim-Napoles’ alleged pork barrel racket. The other two are Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.
“Today is breath of fresh air. Today is a ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ kind of day. After the people mounted a mammoth rally last year to hold accountable all those who have plundered the nation’s coffers, they are now seeing the fruit of their collective struggle. The wheels of justice are already cranked into motion,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said in a statement.
Bello said his group looks forward to the Sandiganbayan to issue the same warrants of arrest against Enrile and Estrada.
He said their arrests will serve as a stern warning to other guilty parties and a powerful symbol to mobilize the people against corruption.
“The momentum of exacting justice must be sustained. The arrest of high-ranking public officials will help in banishing the obfuscation created by the corrupt in an effort to evade accountability. As such, we hope that the Sandiganbayan will similarly order the immediate arrests of Enrile and Estrada, who by evidence provided by the whistleblowers are one of the guiltiest parties on this matter,” Bello said.
Akbayan also reiterated its call to the Sandiganbayan to order the Senate to suspend the charged legislators.
“Given the current developments, it is only but prudent on the part of the Sandiganbayan to order the suspension of the senators charged, arrested and detained because of the pork barrel scam. Their suspension will prevent them from using the Senate as a bully pulpit to continue to muddle the cases lodged against them and a step towards restoring the reputable image of our democratic institutions,” said Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez.
Akbayan also criticized the detention centers built in Camp Crame for the senators implicated in the scam.
The group said the lawmakers should be treated as ordinary respondents.
“We want them detained in regular cells not in a condominium-like detention center,” Bello said.