Senate face-off over ‘pork’

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MANILA -- The caucus at the Senate last Wednesday has allegedly degenerated into a face-off  among senators over the “pork barrel”  mess.


Several sources said Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada castigated Senate Majority  Leader Alan Peter Cayetano for challenging him to face the Senate  investigation into the “pork barrel” scam and  for repeatedly  asking  whistle-blower Benhur Luy to identify  the “sexy” senator, who allegedly gave funds to dummy non-government organizations (NGOs) of Janet Lim-Napoles.

“Sinita ni Jinggoy si Alan is more accurate. Alan explained,” one source said in a text message on Thursday when asked if it were true that the two clashed during  the closed-door meeting.

Last Monday, Cayetano dared Estrada and Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and  Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to also face the Senate  investigation into the “pork” scam after they reportedly backed moves to summon Napoles.

Estrada, Enrile and Revilla were all charged with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly funnelling their  priority development assistance fund (PDAF)   or “pork barrel” funds to Napoles’ NGOs.

The same source  confirmed  that  Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV  also confronted Senator Francis “Chiz”  Escudero  over the reported fund releases of additional P100 million each to six senators  in 2011 through the controversial  Disbursement  Acceleration Program.

Trillanes was allegedly among the six along with Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III and former Senator Francis Pangilinan .

Another source confirmed  this,  saying  that Trillanes suspected  that Escudero’s  office was the source  of  the DAP documents   that were used as the basis  for the news article.

But Escudero allegedly denied  this and  even argued that there was nothing wrong if  the information came out to the media.

Asked if it were true that he confronted Escudero over the DAP, Trillanes said in a text message: “It was not about the DAP.”

He did not reply though when asked again what it was about.