MANILA, Philippines – Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada revealed yesterday in his privilege speech that a total of 50 million worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was distributed among the senators who voted for the impeachment of the former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

In his attempt to defend himself along with his co-opposition lawmakers, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr.,who are now facing the ongoing “partial” investigation of the PDAF anomaly, Estrada exposed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allegedly “bribed” the legislators during Corona’s impeachment.

Estrada claimed that the government is only focusing on them and considered it as biased.

“Selective justice is injustice,” he said.

He also pointed out that they have been singled out as they now face plunder cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

He disclosed that Senate President Franklin Drilon who was the chairman of the Finance Committee at that point, was the one who handed the additional PDAF funds to the legislators.

Drilon however denied the allegation and made it clear that it was not considered as bribe since the PDAF was issued after Corona’s conviction.

“I have yet to see that letter mentioned by Senator Estrada. But if the insinuation is that the Department of Budget and Management and I gave out additional PDAF funds as incentives to those who voted to convict then chief justice Renato Corona, that is not true,” Drilon said.

“I maintain that the senators voted according to their conscience and their impartial evaluation of the evidence presented during the Corona trial,” Drilon stated.

Aside from the ‘pork’ release in the impeachment case, Estrada also declared that there were also fund releases to the legislators in the attempt to oust former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Eventually, Gutierrez resigned before her impeachment case was realized.

He added that even former President, now Pampanga representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo used the PDAF fund to hinder arising impeachment cases in the House of Representatives. The Senator also revealed that the same ‘pork’ was also used in the passage of sin tax law and the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Though a lot of controversies were unveiled in Estrada’s privilege speech which was entitled “The Untold PDAF Story that the People Should Know”, the Senator hasn’t still defend himself in his involvement in the PDAF fund’s misuse.

Written by:
Raniza K. Darole
ABCom, Leyte Normal University