Senate capacity unaffected by pork barrel scandal
We can’t understand how applying our antigraft laws to the pork barrel scam has become the “emasculation of the Senate,” as Amando Doronila put it in his June 23 column, considering that the chamber has thrown its support behind the administration’s anticorruption campaign from the very start.
The pursuit of justice in the pork barrel scam is not a political “punch thrown by the executive.” On the contrary, it is consistent with the mandate of the majority of the incumbent senators who campaigned and won in the 2013 elections under the platform of President Aquino’s reform agenda, especially against official corruption. No less than Senate President Frank Drilon made it clear that the chamber will support the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan in their efforts to get to the bottom of this controversy—including the full prosecution of those who are proven guilty of pocketing public funds.
While we acknowledge the initial public outrage over the pork barrel, we assert that the filing of graft cases against senators has not diminished the power of the Senate. The arrest of the accused senators is but part of a legal process supported by the Senate. The alleged criminal acts that are at the center of the pork barrel scam have been committed by individuals, not by the Senate as an institution.
The Senate’s capacity to perform as the highest lawmaking body of our people has not been affected by this scandal—as wholly proven by its current legislative performance.
This scam may erase certain politicians from our public life, but once the administration of justice takes its course unimpeded—the guilty is expelled and imprisoned and the innocent cleared—the Senate’s role in protecting our democratic way of life will only be enhanced.
print media director,
Public Relations and Information Bureau,
Senate of the Philippines
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