Philippine Pork Barrel in Scam, Abolished by the President, Declared Unconstitutional by Supreme Court

Mammoth rally in protest of the PDAF pork barrel scam (Photo from Travel_man1971. Hubpages. July 28,2014)

The issue is unjustified pork barrel not auditing of Senate budget; now abolished by the President, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

Raging these past few days and up until now (Feb. 16, 2013) is how the budget of the Philippine Senate is spent.

For a backgrounder, The Philippines is a republic that has three branches of government: executive, legislative and judiciary. The executive is occupied by the president; the judiciary is occupied by justices; the legislative is occupied by congressmen and senators. Congress is a two-chamber body.

The issue at hand is an accounting of the past allocation of the Senate. There is a move that it be audited by the Commission on Audit, a constitutional body that has the jurisdiction. Another option being poised is that a private independent body should do the audit.

Congress has a share in the government budget. Each office of a senator is given an allocation. Each senator spends his/her budget on allowed items/services/supplies/materials. Expenditure is accounted for with a certification on how each senator used the funds.

For example, Php 1 million on a bridge in Bantay (hypothetical entry). There is no official receipt on items bought like cement, labor, gravel and sand, steel bars.

For government allocations and expenditure, an official receipt is issued for every purchase. For example: steel bars, #9, 1000 pieces....Php 10,000. This entry is shown in an official receipt of the accredited vendor. Even for an item that costs Php 50.00 is issued an official receipt. The official receipt is rechecked against real, actual items or services. The purchaser and auditor are separate and independent of each other.

Why now the ruse for auditing of Senate funds? To ensure that the funds were properly spent or allocated among senators.

The trigger for this auditing clamor arose from alleged discrepancies in the manner the president of the Senate allocated savings in funds last year. The president gave some senators over Php 2 million, to other senators Php 600,000. Senators who were given less grumble.

Why do we say that the Senate is barking at the wrong tree?

Recall that the expenditure of government funds is to be issued an official receipt as proof for all government offices, except Congress.

That's right, Except Congress.

Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)

Some 10 years ago during the term of ex-president Joseph Estrada Congress passed a law giving pork barrel: Php 200 million for each senator; Php 170 million for each congressmen. These pork barrels are given each year to each member of congress for him/her to personally control. The law also provides that expenditure of these pork barrel does not require any official receipt. A certification of expenditure is required.

The catch is that no one except the member of congress concerned knows that the fund was spent on real services, supplies, and materials. A covered walk may arise as evidence of expenditure with a certification that Php 3 million was spent to build it.

Actually, a member of congress may spend some amount of PDAF on real projects but corner other amount of it for personal use, like for election campaign.

According to this pork barrel law the Commission on Audit can only audit the certification of expenditure but cannot recheck such certification against real, actual items and services.

So the real tree is the law that gives such whooping unaccounted for pork barrel.

This pork barrel is an injustice committed against taxpayers.

Now, who is the senator or representative who will move to abrogate or abolish this self serving law? There will be an election in May this year when some senators and representatives will be elected. Some candidates have made it their platform to abrogate this pork barrel law.

An ordinary citizen can complain but the representative or senator will lend him/her a deaf ear.

New entries as of July 22,2013

Pork barrel breached by scam

In recent two weeks newspapers and television networks carried news of senators having given large portions of their PDAF to fake non-government organizations (NGO).

At least five senators have been named.

An investigation has been started as to the truth of allegations. The allegations are serious. Purportedly, a senator grants a development fund to a fake NGO then the fake NGO gives the senator some part of the same grant.

This morning, in an interview over television Senator Bam Aquino, a neophyte senator, said senators during its new sessions should look into these allegations.

This afternoon, Senator Franklin Drilon who has just been installed as the new Senate president replacing Juan Ponce Enrile said in his acceptance speech that the Senate should be transparent in its transactions to have a clean slate with the people.

New entries as of August 25,2013

Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III abolishes PDAF

The President abolishes the whooping accounted for pork barrel. This news was flashed by GMA TV at noon on August 25,2013.

For a whole month, not a day passed without a news item on anomalies how PDAF had been released and spent. The Commission on Audit, a constitutional body, has been releasing its audit reports adding to the list of senators and representatives involved in the anomalies. Some national government agencies have been mentioned as distribution channels of the controversial pork barrel.

The research team of GMA TV news have come up with at least eight NGOs in interlocking directorships involved in the pork barrel scam.

The President said, according to the news, that the needs of the constituents will be manifested by their representatives. The "soft" needs will be given priority and the "hard" like infrastructure will be given second priority.

The budget will not be given directly to the representatives, unlike the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund). It will become part of the overall budget as line item. This had been the case before the law on PDAF was promulgated.

The presidential announcement anticipates a mammoth rally at Luneta to be held on Monday, August 28 to demand for its abolition. ePIRMA is involved in calling for this rally.

During the announcement by President Aquino III, Franklin Drilon, Senate President; and Sonny Belmonte, Speaker of the House of Representatives, were standing at his right and left side respectively. This shows that the leaders of Congress are in agreement with the President.

We would like to think hubpages has contributed to the ventilation of our position for the abolition of this whooping unaccounted for pork barrel.

(My Hubs are linked to facebook and Twitter).

The Senate, Congress for that matter, will have to find other trees as target for barking, this time the correct one.

New entries as of Nov. 19,2013

PDAF is unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of the Philippines declared that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is unconstitutional. This was flashed on GMAtv news on Nov. 19.2013.

Of the 15-member Supreme Court, 14 justices concurred on the decision; one abstained.

This decision is a reversal of an earlier decision of the Supreme Court on PDAF when it was declared constitutional.

Part of the decision is the return to the government all of PDAF released in 2013.

Senators jailed for pork barrel scam

On June 21,2014 Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. voluntarily went into prison at Camp Crame in response to a warrant of arrest for a case in plunder in connection with PDAF pork barrel scam.

On June 23 Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada likewise voluntarily went to prison in Camp Crame in connection with the PDAF scam.

New entries as of July 8,2014

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, former president of Philippine Senate, is now under hospital arrest in connection with the PDAF scam. That means he is a prisoner. He is being examined for various diseases owing, presumably, to old age. He is 90 years old. End of entries

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