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.


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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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 »

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’


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


Am holding a pig roast this weekend.
Politicians welcome.

Thomas Jefferson
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 »

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.

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

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!

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 »

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

informed OFW

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

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.

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 »
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 »
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 »

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

concern lang

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


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 that in the succeeding future..corruption will be totally abolished…


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.