|Senator Peter Cayetano (2nd from Left) in a press conference|
in Lingayen, Pangasinan. Photo Mortz C. Ortigoza
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Senator Peter Cayetano was nonchalant on the mockery of Senator Merriam Santiago on his proposal for the senate to commission former Senator Panfilo Lacson to head the investigation of fellow senators who were implicated on the P10 billion priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam.
Cayetano said he respected both Santiago and Lacson despite the lady solon’s dig that Lacson would be incompetent as the head of an independent body because of his being a non-lawyer and a political enemy of Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. who allegedly got the biggest sum of P82. 45 million in the P10 billion PDAF or infamously known as congressional “Pork Barrel” racket led by Janet Napoles’ JLN Corporation.
The other senators who were implicated by the PDAF’s scam bugaboo were Juan Ponce Enrile with P24.25 million and Senator Gregorio Honasan with P14.55 million.
All these sums according to Commission on Audit chair Maria Grace Pulido-Tan went to Janet Napoles’ Non-Government Organization's Agriculture and Economic Programs for Farmers Foundation Inc.
Another P24 million from Revilla went to another allegedly phantom NGO’s Technological Resource Center.
“But remember you don’t have to like the investigator. You have to trust the investigator who has the skill to investigate,” he said by defending his early pronouncement.
Cayetano said the fire-breathing Santiago was correct when she said that the head of the panel should be independent like those retired justices of the Supreme Court.
“Pero ang iniisip ko kay Senator Lacson, una hindi siya kumukuha ng pork barrel, naging pulitiko, naging chief PNP (Philippine National Police), and nagtago rin. Sino pa ang mas magandang maghanap sa mga nagtatago kung hindi iyong marunong ring magtago,” he stressed.
Santiago recently said that the proposal of Cayetano to have an independent panel in lieu of the function of the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee would be misconstrued by the people to be replete with bias.
“Pinky Lacson is a political ally of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. At the same time, Lacson is the political enemy of Senator Revilla. Lacson has no acquaintance with the law, but has revealed his propensity for citing the law after confused coaching by his lawyers. A self-taught lawyer is a menace to society,” Santiago told earlier the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
She said that a policeman cannot be an adviser to a Senate committee probing the pork barrel, because this is a question of law. “He has no clue on how the law proceeds in these cases. After a cop finishes his investigation, the report is submitted to the prosecutor, not the other way around,” Santiago said on Lacson in a statement.