Senator Miriam Santiago tells the five senators allegedly involved in a billion-peso pork barrel scam should go on leave pending the results of a probe.

She also urged the president, Benigno Aquino III to form an independent panel to look into a P10-billion exposé involving the use of Priority Development Assistance Funds or “Pork Barrel”.

Sen. Miriam Santiago (Photo by miriam.com.ph)

“Out of delicadeza, the five senators should go on leave, to erase any doubt that they might use their power or their money to pressure the investigators,” Santiago said.

The five senators linked to ghost projects were Bong Revilla, Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bongbong Marcos and Gregorio Honasan.

All denied the allegations and said that they will subject themselves to investigations.

“I submit myself to a full investigation of all my PDAF allocations,” Enrile said and noted that he has no ties with whistleblower Janet Lim Napoles.

“This issue should really be investigated,” Revilla said, while noting that his PDAF is allocated according to government rules and regulations. He also called this whole fiasco a “demolition job” aimed at pulling down the opposition “especially those who enjoy the popular support of our people.”

Marcos on the other hand, will also open himself to a probe, and seconded Revilla’s statement by saying, “I am also exploring the possibility that there may be a political angle to all this in light of the upcoming Presidential elections in 2016.”

Miriam suggested that a prosecution panel be made “composed of three people who are beyond the reach of politicians” to ensure independence.

Senator Franklin Drilon also gave a suggestion saying that this case will be better off handled by the justice department. “Hindi po natin pwedeng imbestigahan ang ating mga sarili,” Drilon said. “I have confidence to Sec. De Lima,” he added.

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