Solons welcome President Aquino’s stand on the pork barrel scam

LAWMAKERS today welcomed President Aquino’s order for an immediate investigation on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam to clear the names of the innocent and push for reforms the soonest possible time.

However, Reps. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) and Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT) have contradicting stands on the pork barrel scam, which implicated some senators and congressmen.

Yap said she is against the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as being proposed by some political quarters and by the religious sector.

Tinio is the author of House Bill 1535 seeking to abolish the controversial pork barrel fund of members of Congress.

“I don’t think abolishing it (PDAF) is the answer to the problem,” said Yap, who also urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a separate investigation on the matter.

“The presumption should always be that the fund is handled by honest public servants and institutions, and released to deserving and well meaning beneficiaries,” Yap said.

Yap also said that the PDAF serves a very important purpose and is used in executing and augmenting resources for projects geared towards medical, educational and livelihood assistance for the people.

“Abolishing PDAF closes down a source for immediate funding to finance projects that would redound to the immediate needs of the people,” Yap said.

“I believe transparency, stricter guidelines and proper monitoring and audit procedures would address the existing drawbacks to the system,” Yap added.

Tinio, on the other hand, said, “in light of the allegations of massive corruption involving pork barrel funds, we hope that the House leadership will place our bill abolishing the pork barrel system on the immediate agenda.”

“Congress must act on the public outrage at this mother of all scams,” Tinio said.

“The pork barrel system, which includes not just PDAF but also the President’s Social Fund, is a form of institutionalized patronage and corruption that is beyond reform.   It must be abolished,” Tinio added.

Rep. Emil Ong, (2nd District, Northern Samar), likewise said, “I am in favor of abolishing the pork barrel. I believe pag mawala na ang pork barrel, wala na masyado vote buying. And, that would eliminate materialistic congressmen from running.”

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