Press Release
March 4, 2016


Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday questioned the speed at which cases are being filed against legislators allegedly involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, even as six former solons face new charges.

Santiago, laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service, raised concern over the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman has so far charged only three senators and 11 former congressmen since the scandal was exposed in 2013.

The Department of Justice has recommended charges against 24 legislators in the racket allegedly led by Janet Lim Napoles, while a Commission on Audit report has named some 118 legislators had questionable deals involving their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"Once elected, I will expedite the investigation and prosecution of cases against those involved in the PDAF scam. If these corrupt politicians remain at large, they will return to power and again steal public funds," Santiago said after a speech before some 3,000 youth voters at the Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela.

Her statement comes as the Ombudsman ordered cases filed against six former legislators who allegedly funneled funds to bogus nongovernment organizations.

The list, which is the second batch of individuals charged over the PDAF mess, included former representatives Zenaida Ducut of Pampanga, Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa, Rodolfo Valencia of Oriental Mindoro, Marc Cagas of Davao del Sur, Arrel Olaño of Davao del Norte, and Arthur Pingoy, Jr. of South Cotabato.

Santiago is one of the most vocal critics of the pork barrel system, which she said continues to this day in the form of lump sums in the national budget.

Her platform includes the abolition of all forms of pork barrel, including the PDAF and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which is also called the "presidential pork barrel." Both have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

"I will support the recent Supreme Court decisions on PDAF and the DAP. They espouse the appropriate roles of the President and Congress in the use of public funds. The decisions ought to be supported not resisted," Santiago said.

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