MANILA – Professor Prospero de Vera of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) welcomed the revelations made by Senator Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech on Wednesday, saying “putting out the truth is always better than hiding it.”
De Vera said the issues raised by Estrada, including the alleged “selective” audit done by the Commission on Audit, are important concerns that need to be addressed.
However, de Vera noted that Estrada’s statements may have been “tempered by public perception” because he is one of the lawmakers linked to the scam.
De Vera also said the senator may have pointed out there is something wrong with the system, but he failed to give specific steps that the Senate as an institution should take to solve the problems.
“The accusations are important but how to move and go about it needs to fleshed out in more details,” de Vera told ANC’s “Top Story.”
In his speech, Estrada blasted what he felt was “selective justice” and persecution being undertaken against him and senators Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile.
He said his colleagues in the Senate should not wash their hands of the scam, noting that were 371 lawmakers mentioned in the Commission on Audit (COA) report.
The challenge is now on Senate President Franklin Drilon, de Vera said, to implement reforms in the Senate to keep the integrity of the institution.
“The message seems to be, ‘Why are you ratting on me?’ There seems to be an attempt to start dragging people down. I think this is a challenge to the leadership of Senate President Drilon, because once mud and dirty linen are aired out, you have the potential to damage the institution rather than individuals who are involved in corruption,” said de Vera.
“We need to prosecute government officials involved in corruption and send them to jail and then start thinking about structural changes in government after that,” he added.