Public urged to reflect on principle of accountability

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - As arrest orders have come out against those implicated in the pork barrel scam, the people should now reflect on the principle of accountability that applies both to those in power and the governed, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday.

Her exhortation came in the wake of the Sandiganbayan’s issuance of warrants of arrest against Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. and several others charged with plunder and graft for their alleged role in the embezzling of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official term for the congressional pork barrel.

“As the Sandiganbayan prepares to undertake its mandated task, we ask all Filipinos to reflect that accountability is built into our institutions, and that just as no Filipino is above the law, all Filipinos are accorded constitutional rights to be respected within a system of justice and fairness that will accomplish the ultimate goal of finding out the truth,” Valte said over radio dzRB.

“This week, we witnessed significant developments in the pork barrel scam investigations, with one division issuing warrants after finding probable cause,” she said, referring to the arrest orders issued by the anti-graft court’s First Division chaired by Justice Efren dela Cruz.

She said that aside from his commitment to accountability, President Aquino is focused on improving the lot of ordinary people and steering the country to achieve sustainable development, citing as example his approval of key projects during the National Economic and Development Authority meeting on Thursday.

Revilla was the first to be arrested among those charged in connection with the pork barrel scam. The plunder case against him and two Senate colleagues, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, is non-bailable. The warrants for the arrest of the two other senators are expected to be out anytime this week.

The others accused of the lesser offense of graft were able to post bail for their temporary liberty last Friday.

They included former Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan, National Development Livelihood Corp. head Chita Jalandoni, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, as well as two children of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

With one of its officials among the accused in the scam, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it is reaffirming its “commitment to preserve the integrity of the public expenditure process.”

The DBM, through its Public Information Unit, said the  ongoing probe is a “good opportunity” for Relampagos and his staff to clear their name and present the truth in the appropriate venue.

“We remain appreciative of their role in strengthening the budget process and bringing greater efficiency to it, and will extend the necessary support to them in the course of the investigation,” the DBM said.

It added that despite the developments, the DBM “will continue to pursue budget reforms towards greater transparency and accountability, concurrent with the Aquino administration’s good governance campaign.” 

“We understand that the PDAF scam investigation is a crucial, necessary step in establishing greater transparency and accountability in the Philippine government,” it added.

At the same time, the DBM said it is confident of the wisdom and fairness of the Sandiganbayan in pursuing cases related to the PDAF scam.

“Although recent revelations on PDAF misuse have on occasion been dubious and conflicting, we are optimistic that the Sandiganbayan will carefully study all evidence at its disposal and resolve the cases accordingly,” the DBM said.

The DBM stressed that “corruption has no place in the management of public funds” and that the budget “should wholly serve the citizens and respond to the country’s unique development needs.”

“We join the country in calling for the swift dispensation of justice in these cases, and trust that those responsible for the abuse of public funds will be held answerable to the Filipino people,” it added. 


As more arrests are likely to follow in the next few days, Roman Catholic bishops yesterday appealed for sobriety, especially to supporters of the accused.

“Let truth and justice take their course,” said former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Jaro, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.

“We have a good justice system in the country. The law should be respected. Let justice take its course,” Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said. Marbel South Cotabato Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez advised the public to pray and put their trust in God.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, for his part, also cautioned the public against “untoward provocation.” He said the accused, especially those wielding influence, must “follow the process of the law” and avoid agitating their supporters.

“If they are found guilty, their followers must exhort them to repent and return the stolen money. They must be punished by lifetime incarceration for their heinous crimes,” he said.

Yesterday, some bishops gathered at the crypt of former Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin at the basement of the Manila Cathedral to say mass on his ninth death anniversary and cite the relevance of his teachings and actions to the present times.

In his homily, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes cited Sin’s dedication to serving the poor and in instilling in everyone the value of charity.

He said Sin had a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, a devotion nurtured by his mother Maxima Lachica-Sin.

“His mother gave him more love and attention because he was sickly, he had asthma. He said the Blessed Mother was like that. She gives more attention and love to the miserable ones, to the poor, either materially or spiritually,” Reyes said. “He said we should be like the Blessed Mother, we should also give attention, more love to the miserable, to the little ones. That is why the stories of the Cardinal are simple because it was meant for the people in the barrios,” Reyes said.

Reyes said Sin wrote Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India in the 1970s asking her to send some of her missionary sisters to Manila. But Mother Teresa replied that while she would have wanted to send sisters to Manila she did not have enough to spare.

To this the Cardinal replied jokingly that if God would ask him after his death why the poor of Manila did not get enough help from the Church, he would tell him, “Lord because Mother Teresa did not come to Manila.” Mother Teresa would later relent, Reyes said. 

“He was always jolly, optimistic, he was always confident that God will be there to help him and if God used him as an instrument for the country, in the EDSA Revolution and all, it was because he was always wanting to seek what is the will of God in any situation,” Reyes said.

“That is what he always did, if he thinks it’s the will of God he will do it, whether it’s easy or difficult, it’s what he will do,” he added. – With Evelyn Macairan



vuukle comment










  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with