Aquino admin used pork barrel vs Renato Corona – Jinggoy

Senator Jinggoy Estrada revealed during his privilege speech Wednesday afternoon that senators who voted last year to impeach then-Chief Justice Renato Corona received an additional of P50 million to their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation.

Estrada said this was announced through “a private and confidential letter” from now Senate President Franklin Drilon, who chaired the Senate finance committee at that time. Drilon swiftly denied Estrada’s claim, saying that no such letter exists. “I maintain that the senators voted according to their conscience and their impartial evaluation of the evidence presented during the Coronal trial,” he said.

The problem is, one of his former colleagues directly belied Drilon’s denials. Speaking to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, former Senator Panfilo Lacson confirmed that those who voted to convict Corona indeed received a P50 million incentive from the administration. He however clarified that he’s not among the recipients of this since he had “no regular PDAF.”

Panfilo Lacson
Panfilo Lacson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corona was understandably elated by Estrada’s bombshell, describing it as a vindication for him. In a brief statement, the ousted chief justice claimed Estrada’s speech proved that his removal from office is unconstitutional and that all charges against him are baseless. He also faulted Malacanang for launching a “massive demolition campaign” directed to him.

The revelation that President Benigno Aquino III co-opted lawmakers into voting against Corona by using the pork barrel fund as a bargaining chip is nothing new.

In his testimony for the defense panel during the Corona trial, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco said that leaders of the House of Representatives repeatedly stressed to them that those who will not endorse the impeachment complaint against will get “zero PDAF.”

Tiangco added: “Ayaw kong mapag-initan. I do not want to catch the ire of the most powerful man in the country, the President of the Philippines.”

However, as reported by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, then-Senate President and impeachment court presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile regarded Tiangco’s testimony as irrelevant to the trial.

 

Clearly, the Aquino administration used the power of the purse to make lawmakers on both Houses of Congress submit to its will. Isn’t this a blatant form of corruption? Whatever happened to tuwid na daan?

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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