CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cayetano has called for an open and transparent probe on the alleged corruption in the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
“What we want is a full, independent, and honest investigation that is open to the public. So far, the NBI is doing a great job but we need to engage the people more and make them part of the reform process since it is their money we are talking about,” he said in a statement.
The senator gave his full support to the investigations being conducted by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Ombudsman adding that this will ensure an independent and credible inquiry into these types of allegations.
Cayetano, however, stressed the importance of granting media access and encouraging people’s participation in these investigations concerning allegations of high public interest similar to how the Department of Justice (DOJ) publicly investigated the 2010 Luneta hostage crisis incident.
“Any case with high public interest such as this where the people’s money is being talked about, the people should be part of the reform process rather than just being aware of the result,” he said.
Cayetano said that media will play a crucial role in pushing for reforms in government. “If they are part of the investigations and are able to cover, they will not only be narrators to the public, they will also be insiders to investigators given their innate capability to do their own research,” he added.
The majority leader also reiterated his call to fellow legislators to cooperate in the investigation being conducted by the NBI by being transparent and opening their books to the assigned authorities in order to resolve this issue immediately and eventually focus more on pressing legislative matters.
He said that an investigation conducted by the Senate on itself would not be as credible and convincing to the people. “First, there is less credibility if we just investigate ourselves. Second, this will keep our focus away from our daily responsibilities related to legislation,” he added.
Cayetano, however, said that he is open to a Senate-initiated investigation on the PDAF scam if there comes a point that the NBI and Ombudsman fail to shed light on these accusations and eventually hold people accountable for wrongdoings.
“I see that that the NBI and the Office of the Ombudsman are doing good. But if there comes a point where we see that they are not doing their job, I will be one of the first to propose that we conduct an investigation of our own,” he said.
Cayetano said it is crucial that corruption cases be filed against erring officials involved in these anomalies in order to fully reform the bureaucracy and rid government agencies from any semblance of corruption or fund misuse. – Jess Malabanan