'Pork scam is crime of the millennium'
MANILA - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday said the P10 billion pork barrel scam implicating Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile should be renamed "Enrilegate."
She also challenged the senator to "get a sex life" after he allegedly continued his attacks against her.
In a speech at the National Student Conference on Hotel and Restaurant Management Monday, Santiago dubbed the pork scam involving several lawmakers including 3 senators as the "crime of the millennium" and urged the Supreme Court to abolish the pork barrel system.
She particularly zeroed in on Enrile, whom she accused of sowing intrigue against her by trying to link her to the scam.
"These stories which very obviously engage in character assassination against me can only be funded by my arch enemy. He is a man who has grown so old in government corruption that I believe he was a waiter during the Last Supper. I challenged him to a public debate, but instead, he has chosen to go underground by hiring media hacks to invent stories against me," she said.
"My advice to this old man is: Get a sex life!" she added.
She added: "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall,though the world perish. This scandal will be one of the most bloodcurdling crimes in Philippine political history. It should be known as Enrilegate."
Santiago noted that waiving the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) should not be left to the individual senators and congressmen "because the money will simply go either to his colleagues, or to other corrupt bureaucrats."
She rejected the argument of some defenders of the pork barrel that the funds could go to the poor if administered properly.
"That was the dream. But as it turned out, the dream has been exploded by the money culture of corrupt politicians," she said.
In her speech, Santiago said the transfer of pork barrel funds to non-governmental organizations do not follow the rules defined under the Government Procurement Reform Act. She also said the NGOs failed to comply with the requirement that the NGO should have an established track record of service delivery and should be financially stable.
She also said the Napoles NGOs and similar syndicated criminal NGOs did not fully liquidate their earlier fund releases, before they availed of new fund transfers from pork barrel funds.
The senator said lawmakers usually get a cut of the pork barrel funds usually by choosing the supplier of the service contract, or the contractor of the supply contract.
She said that to prevent corruption, it is the responsibility of the agency head – normally the department secretary – to advice the lawmaker that choosing a contractor violates the rules of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
"Choosing the contractor is illegal. And yet, lawmakers have been doing it with impunity. When the lawmaker chooses the contractor, that is a crime and a dead giveaway of the lawmaker’s malicious intent to get kickbacks," she said.
Santiago said it would be a travesty of justice if the public allows the pork barrel scam to merely "agitate our passions and then let it dissipate into a whitewash by imposing penalties only on little people."
"We have now reached a point of political epiphany, when we accept that we have allowed the crooks in Congress to fool all of the Filipino people all the time, until now. If we allow this anti-graft momentum to fade, we lose all hope of good governance. But if we do as justice demands, as the Bible says, goodness and kindness will follow us all the days of our lives," she said.
"The years of feasting and gorging on the pork barrel bonanza by the crooks are over. Now, life is proving once again that crime does not pay."