Press Release
August 17, 2013


Senator Chiz Escudero finds an ally in Senator Koko Pimentel in calling for a parallel congressional probe on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"I appreciate the wisdom and prudence of Senator Pimentel in adding his valued voice to my earlier call for an open congressional inquiry into the controversial PDAF scam. This issue is becoming contentious day after day and just like the anxious and outraged public, we also want to pursue the truth," Escudero said.

A few weeks ago, the senator asked the senate to look into the pork barrel mess by filing Resolution No. 41 asking the senate blue ribbon committee to conduct an inquiry into the alleged collective release of PDAF through forgery, falsification and bribery by the Janet Lim-Napoles group. The senate in a caucus unanimously decided to defer investigation pending probes by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Audit (COA).

Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance, said the resolution was meant to "give the Senate and the individual members mentioned to clarify their respective positions and to manifest to the citizens that neither sacred cows nor the notion of an 'old boys' club' exists in a government working for a change."

He said accountability and transparency in government dictate that this matter be investigated because "we deserve no less as a people and as a nation. We have to make sure that everyone adheres to the principles of good governance when it comes to public funds."

As both houses of Congress come under fire for the pork barrel issue, the senator said the Senate will miss an opportunity to "responsibly protect its integrity and reputation as an institution and as a pillar of our democracy" should a parallel probe be totally abandoned.

Senator Koko Pimentel shares this position when he said in a statement that "the overwhelming clamor by the people to get deeper into the bottom of the most damaging issue to rock the halls of Congress in history should be accommodated to preclude public suspicions that the legislators are "protecting their own" because some legislators have been dragged into the controversy."

Pimentel also averred that a congressional parallel investigation is badly needed by Congress to "repair the shattered image of the institution."

Pimentel, however, added that the main purpose of the inquiry should be to find out if the PDAF or pork barrel system is still salvageable or not.

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