Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. Pic: AP.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Hundreds of activists have demanded that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III prosecute all officials, including some of his own allies, who allegedly stole from state funds intended to help the poor.

Carrying kerosene torches, the protesters marched to the presidential palace on Thursday but were stopped by riot police who barricaded the road.

Three senators and several associates have been charged with plunder for allegedly receiving hundreds of millions of pesos (millions of dollars) in kickbacks from a businesswoman who skimmed the money from government allocations for the poor.

The protesters say all three senators belong to the opposition, and that anyone linked to the scam who is an ally of Aquino should also be charged.