Drilon shrugs off Sandra Cam’s charges

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Monday, May 5, 2014

SENATE President Franklin Drilon shrugged off the allegations raised by former whistleblower Sandra Cam who accused the senator and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of trying to silence her over a list of names, mostly administration allies who were involved in the pork barrel scam.

"I don't want to dignify the allegations of Sandra Cam. I would rather let her do her thing, I don't know what she is talking about, I do not want to dignify her statements with any response," said Drilon as he laughed off the allegations of Cam in a press conference Monday.

Based on reports, Cam said the kickbacks to lawmakers did not only come from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel but also from Malampaya funds, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and budget insertions.

Cam further said that one high-ranking senator got even more kickbacks than Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile who have been charged with plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.

"A huge amount of pork barrel allocations received by this top ranking senator and the others came from congressional insertions, on top of the regular PDAF allocations," Cam was quoted as saying.

Drilon's camp, however, denied the allegations of Cam that the Senate President received the largest kick backs in the pork barrel scam.

Through his Chief of Staff, Rey Bantug, the camp of Drilon said Cam was just concocting lies about congressional insertions because she could not produce evidence linking Drilon to the pork barrel scam.

According to Cam, these insertions were made when Drilon was chairperson of the Senate finance committee, which deliberates on the national budget.

Drilon maintained he is willing to open his books and everyone can scrutinize him as he expressed willingness to account for every single cent of the insertion that Cam has been saying.

"The only NGO where he put his pork barrel is the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce. There is no other NGO," Bantug said in defense of Drilon.

Cam also revealed that Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Alex Almario, a member of the LP and allegedly a close ally of Drilon, went to her home in Cavite.

Cam said Almario went to see her because the powers-that-be were concerned that she would make public the list, the source of which she refused to disclose.

But Drilon denied knowing Almario, saying there is no truth that "they are very close with each other insisting that he doesn't know the guy."

"No, I do not know any Almario," Drilon told reporters.

Estrada said the possibility of sanitizing the list of Janet Lim Napoles is highly likely to happen considering that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima continuously refused to make public the affidavit of the alleged pork scam mastermind.

"Noong kami (Senators Estrada, Revilla and Enrile) madalian eh. Ito mga iba, itong mga kasama yata sa listahan, mukhang ini-erase-erase," said Estrada.

Estrada said he can smell something fishy but he is sure that in the end, "the truth will come out no matter how the present administration will try to hide it in favor of their allies." (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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