The principle of separation of powers between the Executive branch and the Legislature is not applicable when corruption is involved, Sen. Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go stressed during a DWIZ radio interview on the current probe by a Malacanang-created Mega Task Force on those involved in graft cases in government.
‘’Karapatan ng mamamayan malaman sino ang corrupt. Kawawa ang taumbayan kung di matapos ang korapsyon. Kung meron pong katotoohanan dapat malaman ng taumbayan kung sino po ang mga lawmakers na involved,’’ Go said.
(It is the right of the people to know who is corrupt. The people will be at the losing end when corruption is not eradicated. It is the people’s right to know if there are lawmakers involved)
The issue of corruption cropped up in recent congressional investigations such as the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHilHealth) and Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The alleged involvement of lawmakers at DPWH followed a description by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, an anti-pork barrel advocate, of some lawmakers who are on the take.
Lacson said contractors label as ‘’gentlemen’’ lawmakers who are content in receiving 10 percent from public works projects that form part of lawmakers’ pork barrel allocations. But those who demand more, sometimes reaching 30 percent, the description is ‘’unprintable.’’
About P400 billion worth of lump sum appropriations are embedded in the P666-billion budget of the DPWH for 2021.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon and Lacson had pointed out that lump sum appropriations are unconstitutional. Lump sum appropriations are deemed ‘’pork barrel.’’
But House of Representatives Speaker Lord Allan Velasco assured the Senate that the House-approved version of the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB or national budget) is pork barrel-free.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said it was he who strongly suggested to President Duterte to form a Mega Task Force that would undertake a government-wide probe on corruption following the alleged multi-billion-peso loss at PhilHealth because of alleged corruption.
‘’Dapat po talagang ikulong at totohanin sabi ng Pangulo yayariin namin kayo talagang yayariin kayo, marami na pong nasuspinde sa PhilHealth,’’ he said.
(The President is serious in putting behind bars those found liable of graft cases. Many have already been suspended at PhilHealth).
“Nagresign pero you are not yet off the hook, di kami papayag na ni piso may mawawala sa kaban ng bayan, itong mga remittances ng OFW hirap na nga magbayad pinagpawisan nila ito tapos mababalitaan nila mananakaw di kataggap tanggap ‘yan, yayariin namin kayo,’’ he added.
(Resignation does not mean you are off the hook. We won’t allow you to go scot-free even if the loss of a taxpayer’s money involves only P1. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) sent their PhilHealth contributions from their hard earned money and they would learn that their contributions are being stolen through corrupt practices. That is not acceptable. We will hunt you)
Go said that the President was hurting upon learning that billions of pesos had changed hands at the Immigration bureau were foreigners, mostly Chinese, were allowed to come into the country through illegal means.
The government-wide investigation is not selective, Go said.
‘’Wala po walang sasantuhin kaya nung nabalitaan ni Pangulo na meron din sa DA, Customs, sa DPWH, talagang exasperated na ang Pangulo kaya sabi ko bakit di natin gawin mega task force. Ngayon pinirmahan na niya po until June 30, 2022 until the last day of his term,’’ he added.
(No one will be spared. The President was exasperated upon learning that there are also cases of corruption at the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Customs, and Department of Public Works and Highways. That was why I suggested that he create the Mega Task Force. The President signed the order. Investigations will be done until the last day of his term)
‘’Tuloy tuloy po ito, walang pipiliin, walang sasantuhin, kasuhan ang dapat kasuhan, putulin ang dapat putulin, patayin ang lahat ng kalokohan, We will not hesitate in our pursuit po to eradicate corruption,’’ he said.
(The probe will go on. No one will be spared. Those liable must face the music. This madness must be stopped)