MANILA (Mabuhay) – The three senators accused in the pork barrel scam should show some delicadeza and resign now, according to the Scrap Pork Network.
The Scrap Pork Network, whose members were among those who organized the “Million People March” protest in Luneta last year, said it is time for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to step down after the Office of the Ombudsman said it had found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against them.
The group’s spokespersons Peachy Tan and Betty Romero said these three lawmakers no longer have the trust of the people.
According to the Ombudsman, Enrile, Revilla and Estrada amassed a total of P172 million, P242 million and P183 million, respectively, as kickbacks from their illegal transactions with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Romero said this is “enough reason” for the people to call for their resignation also “to restore honor in the Senate.”
“Let’s give these gentlemen the opportunity to prove that they still have delicadeza. Hindi na tayo naniniwala [sa kanila] or meron nang suspicion na napunta sa kanila yung public funds, money natin, taxpayers’ money,” she said.
“Anybody with a sense of honor would say that you know, ‘While there are suspicions against me, let me bow out from my position, while there’s a question of trust from my constituents’,” she added.
Tan said Enrile, Revilla and Estrada, though they have yet to be convicted, should no longer be in public service.
“Ang pangamba ng tao is they are still in power to do same thing all over again. We can’t continue letting them sit there,” she said.
Senate urged: Expel them
The Scrap Pork Network’s online petition on Change.org, which was launched on Saturday midnight, has received 4,288 signatures as of 11 a.m. on Monday.
Tan and Romero claimed this only proves that there is strong public clamor to pressure the three lawmakers to step down.
They said if the three still refuse to resign despite the calls, they are challenging the Senate to expel them.
“I think the public clamor will amount to a political pressure that will either force these three senators to say, ‘Yes, we will resign because there’s public clamor.’ Or if they will stand firm, mag-kapit-tuko sa upuan nila, I think the remaining senators will see that if they want to continue to have a political career in the Philippines, they will have to heed the clamor for the resignation or the expulsion of these three senators from the Senate,” Tan said.
Romero said their group believes that the legislators’ power emanates from the Filipino people, not from the lawmakers.
“I believe in the Filipino people. First and foremost, I believe the Filipino people will rise up and get their voices heard with their dissatisfaction at thievery and corruption, and that institutional change can happen.”
“They (lawmakers) need to be afraid of the Filipino people who put them into office,” she said.
The Scrap Pork Network, meanwhile, also urged the government to investigate not just the three senators but all the lawmakers mentioned in the Commission on Audit’s (COA) special audit report on the 2007-2009 pork barrel funds.
“Para tuloy-tuloy ang justice,” Romero said.(MNS)