The government will soon be filing the first two to three cases against individuals involved in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, President Benigno Aquino III said Monday.
"Last week, medyo nagkaroon tayo ng konting karamdaman at hindi kami nakapag-meeting, pero pagkaintindi ko halos ready nang isampa ang at least two to three cases," Aquino told reporters after speaking at the Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika at the Ateneo de Manila University.
The President, however, did not provide a timeline for the filing, saying they do not want to file half-baked cases.
"Kung may isasampa tayong kaso, kailangan matibay para siguradong magkaroon ng tamang leksyon para sa lahat o tamang aral para sa lahat. Ang importante rin magkaroon ng katarungan ang sambayan," Aquino said.
"Ang dali kasi magsampa ng kaso. Pero pag malabnaw iyong basehan nung kasong isasampa mo at hindi kayo nagkaroon ng tinatawag na conviction... ginarantiya mo lang iyong salarin meron ng get out (of) jail free card," he added.
Section 21 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits double jeopardy or trying persons twice for the same offense. "No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense," the provision states.
Because of this, Aquino said he has tasked Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to just file the cases that can hold up in court.
"Baka unang dalawa o tatlo (ay) maisampa na sa lalong madaling panahon," he said.
Asked what he will do if administration allies end up being tagged in the issue, Aquino said: "Sinabi ko naman ‘nung SONA (State of the Nation Address) kung saan tayo dadalin ng ebisensiya, pasensiyahan na lang."
He also reiterated his stand that the pork barrel—or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)—is still beneficial to the country if it is put to good use.
"Tulad ng (kahit) anong bagay, merong mabuting paggamit, merong maling paggamit," he said.
"Pag tinanggal natin po yan (ay) parang inaasahan na natin na alam ng national government lahat ng pangangailangan at natutugunan all the time at medyo mahirap yatang mangyari 'yun," he added. — Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMA News