Press Release
May 12, 2014

Senate will emerge stronger and more credible
after pork barrel scam, says Drilon

Contrary to the claim of former senator Panfilo Lacson, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said he believed the Senate will "emerge stronger and more credible before the Filipino people once we are able to ferret out the truth behind the pork barrel controversy."

Drilon said he disagreed with Lacson's assessment 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," Drilon said. "The allegations of fund misuse are levelled against individuals, whether he is a senator or a congressman, and not against Congress as an institution."

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," he said. "Officials come and go but the institution stays. The pork barrel controversy may destroy politicians but it will not destroy the institution."

"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 levelled 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," Drilon added. "We have already taken bold steps to prevent a repeat of this fraud. We abolished the pork barrel system even before the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional."

Meanwhile, Drilon said he believes President Aquino would not invoke executive privilege in order to prevent the disclosure of the Napoles list.

"I don't think that he will ask for executive privilege. This whole scandal is brought in the open because of the policy of the President towards transparency, of not tolerating corruption," Drilon said. "In another regime, this would have been covered up, but not in the Aquino administration. If that was the intention, to cover-up, he would have done so a long time ago."

"I attribute this on-going cleansing process to the resolve of President Aquino to curb corruption. It was President himself who ordered that we shall bring this case to where the evidence will take us, regardless of who gets hurt," he stressed.

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