The die is cast.
The more the pork scam drags on, the more its money trail leads to the centers of power.
From President Aquino, the collateral damage has spilled over to his inner sanctum led by Budget czar Butch Abad.
Abad, who wields the enviable power of the purse, is believed to be the hidden hand pulling the strings behind the pork barrel drama.
The self-confessed architect of the infamous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) inexplicably made himself scarce since the scam hogged headlines over the past months.
While his peers turned themselves into Pnoy’s own bunch of apologists, the former solon from typhoon-battered Batanes Island kept himself away from public view – and scrutiny.
His silence on the controversy is not only deafening, but also intriguing.
Finally, he turned gutsy last week, apparently bugged by insinuations that he’s the “pork king” alluded to by reports quoting sources close to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged pork barrel queen.
“These fresh allegations that I tutored Napoles in designing the PDAF scam are simply not true,” Abad said. He has been used to being called names since he served the Aquino administration starting in 2010.
But ‘‘pork king?” Certainly not, he said, describing it as the “most ridiculous” he ever heard. “It would in fact be funny if it weren’t such a blatant lie.”
Inescapably with Aquino and Abad in the eye of the pork scam, dyed-in-the-wool political allies House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon can’t be far behind and turn deaf and blind to mounting calls for them to call it quits.