MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday said the government observed due process in the prosecution of politicians involved in the alleged multi-billion pork barrel scam.
At the Independence Day celebration in Naga City, President Aquino said such due process of law was not enjoyed by Filipino ancestors who fought for the country’s independence against the Spanish colonization.
He particularly cited the 15 Bicolano martyrs, 11 of them, after their arrest, were mistreated and convicted after one-day trial, and executed in Bagumbayan five days after Jose Rizal was shot to death in 1896. The other two martyrs died in jail while the remaining two were sent abroad and eventually also died there.
“Sinunod natin ang tamang proseso: nagsagawa ng imbestigasyon, nangalap ng mga ebidensiya, at ngayon ay nagsampa ng kaso. Puwede naman itong ginawa noon nang mabilisan at walang matibay na basehan upang masira ang pangalan ng mga kandidatong dawit sa kontrobersiya, pero idinaan natin sa tamang sistema ang pagpapalabas ng katotohanan,” the Chief Executive said.
The Ombudsman has filed before the Sandiganbayan plunder cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and five others over the pork barrel scam.
President Aquino downplayed speculations of politicking in the P10-billion pork barrel issue.
He said the controversy first came out during last year’s elections on the illegal detention of Benhur Luy, as well as fake non-government organizations (NGOs) and pocketing of government funds. Luy is the principal whistle-blower in the scam.
The President added that he ordered Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to make accusations based on concrete evidence.