MANILA (PNA) — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday expressed optimism that the Senate will get out of the pork barrel controversy and will “emerge stronger and more credible” before the Filipino people.
”The Senate will emerge stronger and more credible once we are able to ferret out the truth behind the pork barrel controversy,” he said.
Drilon said he disagreed with assessment of former Senator Panfilo Lacson that the Senate “might collapse” if Janet Lim-Napoles’ affidavit purportedly naming current and former lawmakers involved in the alleged pork barrel scam was made public.
“We must remember that we are a government of laws, of institutions and not a government of men, or individuals,” he noted.
“The allegations of fund misuse are leveled against individuals, whether he is a senator or a congressman, and not against Congress as an institution,” he added.
Drilon said he was confident that once the Sandiganbayan will be able to determine the guilt or innocence of lawmakers accused of allegedly misusing pork barrel funds, and Congress as an institution will be able to regain the trust and respect of the Filipino people.
“I am certain that once this process is finished — meaning those who are guilty are punished and those who are innocent are cleared — the institution will be stronger than before. Officials come and go but the institution stays. The pork barrel controversy may destroy politicians but it will not destroy the institution,” he said.
“I am certain our democracy, our political institutions will survive this pork barrel controversy,” he further said.
Drilon emphasized that the pork barrel scam controversy was a problem of certain personalities and the allegations of fund misuse are leveled against individuals and not against Congress as an institution.
“Never is it alleged anywhere that the misuse of pork barrel funds was done as an act of Congress, be it the Senate or the House of Representatives. That is why I cannot take the view that the Senate will eventually collapse,” he said.
Drilon reiterated that Senate under his leadership will support all efforts to uncover the truth behind the port barrel controversy, regardless of the political affiliation of those involved.
“We’ll not interfere with the judicial process. Let the truth come out,” said Drilon. “I said it before and I say it again, this pork barrel controversy, and the public outrage that came it, will serve as a cleansing process, not only of Congress, but of our entire political system.”
“When this is all over, we will finally be able to purge government of corrupt officials who abused the public trust in the implementation of the pork barrel system,” he added.
Drilon said the Senate itself has taken bold steps to prevent a repeat of the fraud by abolishing the PDAF even before the Supreme Court declared it “unconstitutional.”