Sen. Franklin Drilon who is expected to be the next Senate President is proposing the removal of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or known as PORK BARREL of lawmakers following reports that a certain businesswoman had plotted a ₱10 billion scam over the past decade using the pork barrel of senators and congressmen for ghost projects.
"We should seriously think about abolishing the pork barrel," Drilon told Radyo Inquirer 990AM in an interview Monday morning.
Drilon said in a radio interview Monday that Senate will let the National Bureau of the Investigation's take the lead in probing a fraudulent scheme involving millions of pork from various lawmakers allegedly channeled through ghost projects.
Drilon was reacting to the Philippine Daily Inquirer's report linking at least 28 legislators – five senators and 23 members of the House—to the alleged scheme hatched by Janet "Jenny" Lim-Napoles to dummy organizations receiving pork barrel funds named as "JLN Group of Companies".
The issue links Senators are the following:
- Juan Ponce Enrile
- Bong Revilla
- Gregorio Honasan
- JV Ejercito
- Bongbong Marcos
Drilon said anomalies like these will be eliminated once the pork barrel is abolished.
Scrapping the pork barrel was the ideal move but Drilon admitted that "in reality, many congressmen need this for projects in their districts."
He added if the pork barrel will not be removed, the next option is to limit the types of institutions where these funds may be appreciated.
He suggested giving pork barrel directly to hospitals and schools so that the fund can be easily audited.
"Payag ako na itigil etong pork barrel para matigil na etong mga reported anomalies. Itigil natin pork barrel. Sa akin ang buod nito kung i-retain ang pork barrel talagang i-limit na lang natin among sa institutional recipients," he said in a radio dzMM interview.
"Kung hindi man matanggal lagyan mo ng limitation para yung opportunity for corruption ay very limited," he added.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is looking into an alleged ₱10-billion scam by a company that set up fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
The organizations are believed to have benefited from the pork barrel of several lawmakers, as well as the fertilizer fund mess and proceeds from Malampaya.
In a letter addressed to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, lawyer Levito Baligod said his client, Benhur Luy, was reportedly detained in a condominium in Taguig because he knew about illegal business practices in the appropriation of the pork barrel of certain lawmakers and projects during the Arroyo administration.
After Luy was rescued last March, he issued an affidavit accusing the JLN Group of Companies of being involved in anomalous deals.
Luy was employed by his relative, Janet Napoles -- the owner of JLN.
Other employees and relatives of Luy claim the company set up 5 fake NGOs that became beneficiaries under the fertilizer fund scam, Malampaya scam, and the pork barrel of some lawmakers.
The employees of JLN, and even the household help, became the presidents and officials of the fake NGOs.
A number of cities also became beneficiaries, but the signatures of the local officials were fabricated.
According to the affidavit of JLN project coordinator Merlina Sunas, the government funds appropriated to the fake NGOs were remitted to Napoles.
Sunas added Malampaya had a ₱900-million budget, but there were no deliveries of supplies and materials.
The liquidation reports submitted to concerned government agencies were also allegedly fabricated.
She said this was also the modus for the pork barrel of some lawmakers and the controversial fertilizer fund scam.
Drilon said though that his pork barrel had not been used for any irregular activities.
"I had no transactions with her," said the senator, referring to Janet "Jenny" Lim-Napoles, the person allegedly behind the anomalous.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has confirmed that the names of some lawmakers and officials were mentioned by some of the whistleblowers who had tagged Janet Lim Napoles of the JLN Group of Companies as the alleged brains behind the anomaly. Even the linked names were already disclosed by the philStar, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima declined to name the lawmakers and officials.