PNoy misled public on pork barrel funds: It’s still in the budget and legislators still want it

Tax evasion should not be a criminal offense anymore in the Philippines. After all, some of the country’s public servants, those who blatantly steal taxpayers’ money, do not get prosecuted or go to jail. It is even quite baffling how members of Congress made a big deal out of former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s undeclared personal dollar savings in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) considering quite a number of those who impeached him were said to have been involved in scams using their priority development assistance (PDAF) or “pork barrel” funds through bogus NGOs for years even before Corona’s impeachment trial began in 2012. These scams involved billions of pesos of other people’s money — sums that utterly dwarf what Corona had in his own bank account.

Did he mislead the public?
Did he mislead the public?
The truth is, one can be forgiven for hiding his or her hard-earned money from the Philippine government because there is enough evidence to suggest that the public cannot trust the government to manage public funds properly. Those who keep insisting that only the previous administration had mismanaged public funds need to have their heads examined.

Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino has been in office since 2010. However, he and his minions will have you believe that he just started his term yesterday with the way he keeps blaming the previous administration for the problems his own administration is facing today. His announcement that he will abolish the pork barrel funds wasn’t entirely true. It seems he made the announcement to pacify the public and stop them from attending the massive rally against the pork barrel funds.

On the government’s website, the current administration published a diagram or what they call an “infographic” of what the government will do after they “abolish” the PDAF or pork barrel funds. It cleverly stressed how the “old system”, which is the same system BS Aquino’s government has been using since being voted into office, was prone to abuse. The diagram alleged that the pdaf or pork barrel funds was prone to abuse because of the following:

1. A former President desperate to hold on to power.
2. Congressmen immersed in the culture of transactionalism.
3. A bureaucracy coopted and coerced.
4. Lack of transparency in the system.
5. A passive and disengaged citizenry.

It looks like BS Aquino is blaming everyone else except himself for endemic corruption in the Philippines. The big question is this:

How come BS Aquino did not speak out against the “old system” when he was still in Congress?

Just to reiterate, the old system is the same system BS Aquino has been using up until his recent announcement that it is time to abolish the pork barrel funds. It is also worth pointing out that after repeatedly saying that he was against abolishing the pork barrel funds, BS Aquino made an about face three days before the scheduled million people march against the pork barrel on the 26th of August and announced that it was time to abolish it. For that reason, the old system, the system that is prone to abuse, existed even during BS Aquino’s term. He only felt compelled to change to a “new system”, which he says is more transparent after the public outrage. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who fail to see through the hypocrisy in BS Aquino’s actions, which is why things will not improve under his regime.

What is also interesting to note from the government’s diagram on PDAF or pork is that even though it says that it will be abolished, the new system they are proposing still provides an opportunity for legislators to include budgets for specific “projects”.

In other words, even though legislators won’t be getting their lump sum amounts, which was Php70 million per congressman and Php200 million per Senator, they will still get funds for their pet projects this year, it’s just not called the PDAF or pork anymore. Therefore, it will not have been abolished at all. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed this:

(…) President was clear about the abolition of the PDAF in the 2014 budget. But that only meant that the lump-sum appropriation for the PDAF “is no longer there.”

This “new system” means that there is still a possibility for the Executive branch, which is headed by BS Aquino, to use public funds to strong-arm members of Congress into doing what he wants them to do.

He now wants legislators to have pork.
He now wants legislators to have pork.
The government’s diagram showing what they will do after the pork is abolished is misleading. It gives the impression that it is already in effect. Never mind that some members of Congress like Senate President Franklin Drilon are now against its abolition. In a separate statement, “Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on Friday that the P25.2-billion allocation for the PDAF would stay in the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget for next year”.

The Secretary’s reason for keeping the budget allocated for PDAF or pork barrel funds is not acceptable. He said “it was not logical to wipe out any trace of the P25.2 billion PDAF from next year’s budget” only because “the amount had been proposed”. His is a lame excuse, indeed.

Since the 2014 budget hasn’t been approved and is still scheduled for deliberation by Congress, Secretary Abad can still revise it and scrap the allocation for the PDAF. It should be easy enough since he said so himself that the budget could be diverted to something else – something more substantial, hopefully other than the construction of more basketball courts and waiting sheds. There’s no reason the funds have to go through legislators to implement “small projects” anyway.

There is really nothing in the Constitution that says legislators have to be involved in “projects” for their districts or constituents. Secretary Abad’s only defense when asked why legislators need funds is that they are constitutionally-mandated to scrutinize the budget. But what he said doesn’t really justify why they need to have funds too. As Manuel L. Quezon III mentioned in his blog, according to the Constitution, Congress is only obliged to act on proposed budget by the executive branch by deliberating on it. And, they can only subtract items from it, and not add to it (Art. VI, Sec. 25, I). This means that Congress also has the power to remove the PDAF from the national budget during their deliberation if they want to and even when Secretary Abad can’t be bothered to change his budget proposal.

Before changing his tune, Malacañang Spokesman Edwin Lacierda even challenged the legislators to give up their pork:

“That is the call of each and every solon,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. “Senator Panfilo Lacson did it. Is it something that is worth emulating? That is the call of each and every legislator.”

Lacierda said it was also up to Congress to decide on the fate of the P27 billion in Priority Development Assistance Funds or PDAF in the proposed 2014 national budget.

'CoA gets 2% commission on pork.'
‘CoA gets 2% commission on pork.’
If only Lacierda did not contradict himself by not criticizing the people who went to the rally against the pork barrel funds. He seems to be pretty inconsistent for a Malacañang spokesman. Speaking of Lacson, he made sense when he said “we are here to make laws, not to build roads and bridges.” He said that in a privilege speech in 2003, when alleged NGO scammers like Janet Lim Napoles were still under people’s radars. Lacson also mentioned how the Commission on Audit (CoA) receive a two percent kickback from every pork barrel scam. The government’s infographic on pork barrel funds should include CoA in their list of reasons why the system is prone to abuse.

Senate President Franklin Drilon was also quoted as saying that it is easy to abolish the pork barrel. This was what he said before he changed his position and went against its abolition:

“For his part, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon pointed out that the controversial pork barrel funds given to members of the Senate through the years could disappear from the General Appropriations Act (GAA or national budget) by simply deleting the PDAF appropriations from the budget.”

It’s a real mystery why some people like Drilon who were quoted in the past as being okay with removing the pork barrel funds are now justifying the need for Congress to have funds for their pet projects. It’s either they are suffering some kind of premature withdrawal symptoms or someone must have convinced them to rally for the retention of the pork barrel funds. That someone could be trying to hold on to power. It’s really hard to trust Filipino public servants especially when they keep contradicting their own statements.

So, the next time the Bureau of Internal Revenue gives out a list of names of tax evaders; don’t regard them as criminals or cheats. They are just protecting their hard-earned money from being stolen by members of Congress.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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66 Comments on "PNoy misled public on pork barrel funds: It’s still in the budget and legislators still want it"

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libertas
Guest
The philippines is a corrupt system propagated and protected by a multi-headed hydra of hypocricy, deceit, greed, and self-interest. In a survey (inquirer) 98% of respondents said – “abolish pork barrel” Nothing could be clearer, but the reasons, lame excuses for its retention already demonstrate that it will not be abolished and corruption will continue unabated. The chance for systemic change is rare and it has been offered on a silver platter, but pnoy does not have the courage or honesty, and will instead defend his paymasters rather than listen to his ‘bosses’. He is a sh!t whose effigy should… Read more »
DEMOSTHENES P. MAGLASANG
Guest
The senators who judged Corona were more guilty because they have stolen billions from peoples monies, which those billions could have feed millions of hungry school children, can make thousands of houses for the poor squatters who are living in a flood prone areas and along stereos , thousands of school buildings, millions of books, can finance livelihood projects to alleviate the economic conditions of the many who are reeling in abject poverty. What kind of congress that we have? Are they likened to Pharisee during Christ time, pretending to be honest, religious, without blemished were as dirty as those… Read more »
Gerry
Guest

YES, exactly like that.

Traitors to their own people. Treasonous leeches and you stand there and do nothing!

Gerry
Guest
You know, there is not one single person in the National Government who is not in on this, not one. Each and every one of them is a lying thieving weasel.(Congress, the Judiciary, Executive Branch) The Constitution of the country protects them from public scrutiny as all that needs to be done is to convert peso’s to $$$$ and NO ONE can see their accounts. The FoI law is nowhere to be seen and thus the minutes of the proceedings where it is determined who gets what are not availed to the citizenry. and yet…. it has been ‘proposed’ that… Read more »
choi
Guest

libertas, do you think you can change the corrupt system if you sit now as the president?

libertas
Guest

only if i delegated the task to ilda

Gogs
Member

Choi, as funny as libertas reply was. All that matters is there is one guy “just one guy who laid down his life for you and I” who promised the Filipino people in 2010 he will abolish poverty and corruption. The Filipino people upheld their part of the bargain, though stupidly in my opinion. Aquino previously did not even demonstrate the ability to change a tire. Let alone a dysfunctional way of life. But people believed him and look where that got us. Nothing good can come from yellow fever. Nothing.

Tony Valenciano
Guest

Our problem is our electorate is dysfunctional itself so election does not work but a revolution is what is required led from the right like what Ferdinand Marcos did when he was president of our republic.

libertas
Guest

Congressmen are saying pdaf must be kept for scholarships!

Why do congressmen even decide who should get a scholarship

Who audits this, or is this another easy way of diverting funds through ‘ghost students’

libertas
Guest

10 million bounty for janet lim napoles.
calling Dog the Bounty Hunter

or does this just mean she has already had a burial at sea

benign0
Admin

Maybe Pork is also funding that bounty…

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
@benign0 I found an anomaly in page 11 of the Philippine Star dated August 28, 2013. Edwin Lacierda mirrored what you said in your article “What next after the august 26 million people march to Luneta versus the pork barrel?” Dated August 26, 2013 by benign0. Is the following plagiarism? “What made the system prone to abuse? Number one you’ve got a former president desperate to hold on to power. You’ve got congressmen immersed in a culture of transactionalism, a bureaucracy co-opted and coerced, a lack of transparency in the system, and a passive and disengaged citizenry,” presidential spokesman Edwin… Read more »
benign0
Admin

He did word it all differently though…

Amir Al Bahr
Guest

Hmm, bounty you say?

Darth BS gonna call Baboy Fatt. 😛

joeld
Guest

hmmmm..burial at sea. I was thinking along those lines when they reported that Napoles went into hiding. Barya lang ang 10B pesos compared to what they are geting anyway.

libertas
Guest

Am holding a pig roast this weekend.
Politicians welcome.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Why does the tax paying citizenry want the pork barrel and its perks and privileges abolished? Simple… They want the senators and congressmen completely excluded from dipping (a.k.a. stealing)their dirty fingers into the pork for their own personal use. Mr. BS Aquino and other members of the Executive Branch should also have no perks and privileges (or fingers into it) in their respective pork barrels. Mr. Aquino has the biggest pork at a whopping (in excess of) PHP 1 Trillion Pesos! Correct me if I am wrong… That makes him the godfather crook of the pork barrel since his pork… Read more »
delia s. maunes
Guest
CORRECT LAHAT SILA AFTER THE TAXPAYERS MONEY. now the phil. govt has much money in the treasury ,eaning yumayaman ang treasury and mga filipino taxpayers getting poorer everyday due to these robbers in the government. An BNIR ang agency n nagpapahirap c taong bayan c laki ngg mga taxes n kinokolekta c ma employed and small businessmen and katiting c mga malalaking business owners muta lan ang kapares c kita nila. and these taxes being collected para nakawin ng ma senators, tongressmen and more…GRABE kawawa ang mga taxpayers. Mga bobo ang mga taga BIR ang withholdingtaxes sobran laki compared to… Read more »
libertas
Guest

Transparency and accountability.

All senators/congressmen/cabinet secretaries should publish lists of their travel abroad, and why, since this is paid by the taxpayer.
One senator travelled to LA and los angeles 11 times last year.WTF.
And one senator managed 26 overseas trips
even newbie bam aquino has travelled abroad twice in the past month.
Politics is not for free holidays in 5 star hotels, or to use diplomatic immunity from search to transfer cash.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Gerry
Guest

A SPAM BOT? That’s exactly what you said the other day.

Bean_Counter
Guest
Mathematically, we can say patronage politics is a function of pork barrel (presidential and PDAF). You need pork barrel to grease politicians to do the bidding of the executive branch. Therefore, to stop the mismanagement of government budgets annually, we need to zero out patronage politics to eliminate pork barrel in the system. Setting it to zero requires that we have to find a minimum positive value/number of legislators in both houses. How does one do it ? Call for an immediate rewrite of the Philippine Constitution. We need to enshrine legislative transparency, integrity and efficiency in the Philippine Constitution… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest

The BS propaganda I read in the Manila Standard made me really laugh. BS Aquino was thanking the Luneta people for being his allies in the fight against the pork barrel. Man what a thick skinned A-hole this dictator is! His propaganda mill speaks for itself… demonic!

Gerry
Guest
Every last one of them is a traitor to his people, and they have the balls to laugh at all of you to your faces, WHY? Because they all know what spineless gullible idiots THE PEOPLE are. They are going to continue to rob and laugh at all of you because they know you will not do a damm thing about it! YES, the truth is they all know that the little un-complicated web of lies they spine fools all of you, all of the time! THEY ARE ALL IN ON IT! for the sake of the people who control… Read more »
Yawn
Guest

Picnic in the park achieved nothing. Day out and take loads of photos.Rush home so they can upload to FB and tell all there friends and Tita in the States look at me macho Filipino.At work next day showing everyone 680 photos they took on Sunday.
Part 2 Day Trip to Enchanted Kingdom. Ride the roller coaster and take even more photos.
Meanwhile the politicians lose no sleep,business as usual. No one cares and no one tries to stop them from stealing.

OnesimusUnbound
Guest

Exactly! If we wanted the politicians to listen to us, let’s start with the 2016 Election and show them that the Filipino as a whole wanted a competent leaders and inept ones won’t make it.

Gerry
Guest

Amazing.

janey
Guest

BS Aquino, you are a congenital liar! Remember this phrase (congenital liar), BS? Rings a bell, doesn’t it?

informed OFW
Guest

There must be another Janet Napoles out there we do not know of.. Why don’t we urge all those so called honorable people in the senate and house of representative as well as the palace to divulge all those recipient of their PDAF so that the taxpaying people of the Republic of the Philippines will know if they are really true..
Anyway thanks GRP for keeping us informed even were out here in middle east.

Rogelio Lim
Guest

Mas mainam sana kung mag-resign na lang sila kung hindi nila kayang magsilbi sa bayan na walang pork barrel kasama dito si Noynoy para hindi mahirapan ang bayan kung ano ang gagawin sa kanila. Humanap na lang tayo ng mga tao na papalit sa kanila na hindi mga sinungaling,hindi mapaghiganti, , hindi manlilinlang at magpapatupad ng walang kinikilingan na hustisya. Huwag na nilang pahirapan ang bayan kaya mag-resign na sila para makasulong naman tayo.

mcalleyboy
Guest
Legislation should be the first priority going after a self-serving system will not work it only delays the many laws that need to be overturned and changed, transparency and an open government that can work together as one and not separate entities is a must and no more go betweeners, get rid of the civilians that also run government projects it needs to happen yesterday, no more pork barrel what so ever for members in Congress or the senate if nothing gets who cares they get no money and things remain the same, no need to strong-arm others with long… Read more »
EddieA
Guest
Funny I stumbled in this site. Anyway your article is interesting and I have to say that I agree that Pnoy mislead the public about the pork barrell, that was intention in the first place. It’s not really rocket science to see what Pnoy is really up to but I think he’s using Napoles as “bait” to divert the attention of the public to mask his own faluires then he swops around and becomes the “hero” of the masses by arresting Napoles increasing his popularity. Frankly speaking, I don’t see the point of arresting Napoles has something to do with… Read more »
Leb
Guest
So long as Napoles is alive, the country should have no reason to worry. But what PNoy did, which created innuendos and gossips, in letting himself drag in the center of the drama was a bit over the top. I just hope Napoles stays alive because PNoy up the ante when he put personal touch on the issue. I’m not in the business of accusing anyone who is not a suspect like Napoles especially when I have no basis and I will remain so until everything is revealed, exposed and admitted to in a formal set up like court trial,… Read more »
Leb
Guest

‘PNoy misled public on pork barrel funds: It’s still in the budget and legislators still want it’

Leb
Guest

Sorry, it was cut. Anyway, just curious, how come the public is misled when the legislators, who are supposed to represent them, knew it and in fact wanted it? Also, if they knew and wanted it, how come it is only PNoy that is being pinned on it?

Just a thought.

Johnny Saint
Guest
Did you understand the president’s statement? In his opinion, he said the pork barrel should be abolished. In its place he proposed the approvals should be through line item allocations with the executive department having sole responsibility over fund disbursements. Lawmakers will have decision-making power regarding monies only during budget deliberations and/or when funding is discussed in the crafting of new legislation. At the same time, the president avoided any discussion of his office’s own pork allocation, an amount that far outstrips congressional pork by billions of pesos. This “solution” effectively concentrates ALL leverage in this government IN ONE PERSON… Read more »
Leb
Guest

If you notice, it was on the title I expressed my curiosity with. But anyway, to respond to your question, yes, I understood what the president said. He wants the pork barrel of the legislators abolished while at the same time maintaining that his pork should stay. I don’t see any contradictory there.

Johnny Saint
Guest
Apparently you DID NOT understand the president’s statement at all. Or perhaps you didn’t bother to listen to the rest of the statement after hearing “Panahon na po upang i-abolish ang PDAF.” In the same breath, Penoy says he will come up with safeguards and mechanisms to control budgetary releases. How is that not contradictory? He first states that the PDAF system needs to be abolished. Then he says that the executive will undertake measures to control the release of funds. Unless there is a different meaning of the word “abolish” in the English language, I do not see how… Read more »
Leb
Guest
Like I said, I saw no contradiction in what the president has said. It was clear that he intends to abolish the current practice where legislators exercises power to dispense and allocate pork. He is clear on that. He also talked about introducing new measures that will guarantee transparency in the new process. Now, will the legislators exercise the same authority over pork in the new process? No. I-aabolish na nga e! So, you see, there’s no contradiction. Now, to some people, there could be lack of confidence or doubt as to what he intends to do. They said, he… Read more »
Gogs
Member

The thing with the president is whenever it necessitates to revisit a subject, he never does. Of course it helps most pinoys have the memory of Nemo’s fish friend. You don’t believe me there was a certain tour bus incident where he was grinning at the press conference and to this day Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word for him. Another incident that popped up where Lacierda promised to get back to us and never has. http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2012/11/theres-three-sides-to-every-story/

Johnny Saint
Guest

Leb,

The only thing I can do is again appeal to whatever faculties you may have, however limited, to apply some critical thinking to what is a simple issue. A ten-year-old could comprehend the lies in BS Aquino’s press conference. I am wondering what it will take for you to realise this.

Leb
Guest

JS, no need for appeal. You see the glass Half-full I see it Hal- empty. Let’s agree on that.

concern lang
Guest

sino ang hahawak sa budget kung wala na ang pork barrel system?
sigurado bang sila ay d rin mangungurakot?
para sa akin kasalanan din naman natin yan kasi d tayo bumoto ng tama noong election

bhea
Guest

change must always arise indeed…we must look to our campuses and watch over the students..who then, will be the future leaders of this country.train this students to be good, honest, and trustworthy leaders..so that in the succeeding future..corruption will be totally abolished…

rjo
Guest

pork barrel system even if it’s in new form will never be transparent without the FOI Law. any government transactions involving publc funds must be publish to all media outlets and social media and should be released to the public without any condition.

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