A Reaction to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s September 25 Privilege Speech On PDAF or Pork Barrel Funds

320_ZZZ_112012_jinggoy_estradaPeople saying that they’re concerned about the P10 Billion Pork Barrel Fund Scam should not ignore or entirely discredit Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s privilege speech on “The Untold PDAF Story That The People Should Know”.

A few days before delivering his privilege speech, Senator Tito Sotto said that Senator Estrada would unleash figurative bombs and expose a scam bigger than the pork barrel scam.  This must have shaken Malacanang a bit because early this week, an article in the Manila Bulletin warning people not to believe revelations by key people accused in the Pork Barrel scam started circulating in social media.

The fact that Ateneo Professors Benito Lim and Benjamin Muego as well as UP Professor  Prospero De Vera were used as talking heads for a story obviously aimed at preemptively discrediting Estrada’s speech before he even delivers it betrays the ongoing “perception management” being foisted upon people.

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In the article, it was said:

the three warned against the deterioration of the political situation should the public be distracted from the issue of “prosecuting and convicting” parties who face charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“The opposition already forewarned the public of a ‘bombshell’ on Monday. Haven’t you heard? They have been saying that from the day (Justice) Secretary de Lima brought the so-called ‘truckloads of evidence’ on the Napoles pork barrel scam to the Ombudsman,” said Lim.

I don’t know about you, but, what really revolts me are people who tell other people what to think.  It shows utmost disrespect and I usually fire-back by telling them about things I can shove up their choice of hole — durian, jackfruit, pineapple, or UPO comes to mind.

The issues opened up by the can of worms called the P10 Billion Pork Barrel Scam is way to darned important to listen to just one side or not listen at all.  The issue goes deep and so deeply that it questions our people’s capacity to truly participate in a democracy and keep their God-given freedoms.

This really isn’t about that bleeding heart crap about “tax payer’s money being stolen”, because if you really worked government revenue numbers income taxes only account for about 20 percent of the total national budget in 2012 — at least, according to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisma.

The biggest stink in this whole mess is what I refer to is the carte blanche or blanket agreement we all end up signing when politicians are elected into office.  The simplest way to illustrate how this carte blanche works is that your President, your Vice President, Senators, Governors, Congressmen, Mayors, and Provincial and City/Municipal Board members will do whatever they please once elected.

The “how” and “why” this happens is simply explained: “Because they can and because you allow it.”

The question, really, is not whether these elected officials actually consult the people in their jurisdiction when policies or regulations are formulated and implemented.  The core issue here is whether the people intelligently and wisely assert their right to be heard in every level of governance.

There is overwhelming evidence that after doing their “democratic duty” of voting for candidates, people just forget all about the people they voted for and why they voted for them (assuming they had some good reason to) or worse, ask them to do things they shouldn’t.

Democracy is not a “fire and forget” missile, my friends — it needs careful handling and the participation of all from conception to execution.  It’s not something you leave to a “political party or organization”, much less a “political personality”, thinking things are going to just “happen” as a result of the way the “system” is set to operate.

Does that sound anything like democracy?  Over a hundred years after declaring “freedom” from Spain and it seems there are those of us who have ended up as careless citizens, opportunistic sycophants, and victim-minded serfs.

And, THEN we wonder why or how the Pork Barrel Scam happened! Jeez…  I should just end this blog post here!

Having listened to the entirety of the speech Estrada delivered yesterday in the car while my kid was in his class, I cringed as his words confirmed what people in my circle have been thinking about the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Commission On Audit.

What we’ve been thinking is that all crucial safeguards that were supposed to regulate the use of PDAF or Pork Barrel Funds were either over-ridden or not implemented at all.

During the Pork Barrel Scam hearing, Senator Chiz Escudero already pointed to one safeguard, the Procurement Act, that was not heeded at all by the Administration’s Department agencies.

Escudero also asked Salacup if he is familiar with the COA and GPPB rules on NGO participation in public procurement to which the latter said no.

“It is very incredible for these officials to feign ignorance of the existing procurement law which has been in place since 2007. I asked them about this because they have been totally ignoring the laws governing procurement. If it’s a negotiated procurement, the NGO is required to come up with the performance, security or bond equivalent to the amount of the project. This is because in cases like when it reneges or dissolves or disappears, like in most of these 82 NGOs, the government has a hold on them.”

“Now in clear violation of existing laws and regulations, these line agencies simply awarded funding to the seemingly favored NGOs. As long as there are endorsements from legislators, as they admitted, they funneled funds hook, line and sinker.”

In his privilege speech, Estrada identified more problems the safeguards against the abuse of pork barrel funds and among these problems, he focused on the Commission on Audit’s ineptitude.

While Senator Estrada’s detractors kept saying that the speech didn’t answer to any of accusations against him (which would have been self-serving), I think Estrada did good in outlining the core issue in accountability in the use of public funds and in this case, the real onus is on the COA.

Given the length of the speech (which lasted more than one hour), I’ve decided to pick just a few of the major points raised in the speech and skip parts where Estrada raised issue with the “selectiveness” and bias of the COA’s PDAF report.

COA Did Not Issue “Notice of Disallowance”, No Scrutiny from Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures 

Ang totoo po, taon-taon (simula ng 2004) ay kasama sa regular audit ng Department of Agriculture ang PDAF na napupunta sa kanilang ahensya. At malamang nasa regular audit din ito ng DSWD, DPWH at iba pang implementing agencies kasama ang local government units. Ang siste, year in and year out, pare-pareho ang findings ng auditor na hindi tama ang pag-gugol patungkol sa pdaf na napupunta sa implementing agency ngunit wala ni isang disallowance kaya nag-tuloy-tuloy ang pagdaloy ng PDAF sa mga ahensiyang ito.

(Translation: The truth is that every year (starting in 2004), the Department of Agriculture includes in its regular audit all the PDAF that they receive.  Most likely, this is also in the regular audit of DSWD, DPWH and other implementing agencies as well as local government units.  The way it happens, year in and year out, the finding of the auditor are all the same and they point to the fact that the PDAF given to them isn’t being used  properly and yet not a single notice of disallowance was issued, that’s why PDAF continued to flow to these agencies.)

Kung taon-taon ay kasama sa regular audit ng mga implementing agencies ang PDAF dapat ay taon-taon din kasama ito sa sinusumiteng report ng COA sa kongreso.  (Translation: If the PDAF is included in the regular audit of the implementing agencies, the same should be included in the report that COA submits to Congress.)

It should be remembered that under republic act 7226, COA is required to submit to congress annual reports of amounts obligated, warrants issued and expenditures made in each municipality, province and city by national government agencies, and instrumentalities, including GOCCs. Did this escape the scrutiny of the powerful congressional oversight committee on public expenditures?

… …

Mga kababayan, eto po ang kopya ng COA Special Audit Report. More than 450 pages all in all.  And nowhere, nowhere in all these pages can you find a single peso of disallowance or even a suspension! Ito po dapat ang nagpahagulgol kay Chairman Pulido-Tan.

No single peso disallowance.  This, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as our people must know, is the most blatant, inept defect in the special audit report. Given that under the constitution, the COA has exclusive power to disallow expenses and given the plethora of cases decided by The Supreme Court upholding the disallowances made by coa, bakit walang ni-piso na disallowance dito sa audit ng pdaf? (translation: why wasn’t there a single peso of disallowance in the audit of PDAF?) There were also no recommended realistic and effective measures to enable the government to recover government funds allegedly wasted on anomalous transactions by the implementing agencies and LGUs.

Very clearly, chairman pulido-tan failed to obey the constitutional mandate reposed on COA, and that is, compliance audit focused on public accountability that disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive and extravagant or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds. Add also the fact that she violated, and continues to do so, COA resolution 97-006.

I am sure that Malacanang and their trolls will easily brand Estrada’s speech as “passing the buck” to COA, but if you really think about it and not let the Palace do your thinking for you, whose job was it to make sure that public funds are spent properly?  Isn’t it COA?

cory aquino gloria arroyo edsa dosThe thing is, if it is true that the COA has been remiss and selective in its audit since 2004, it would have benefited a whole lot of other congressmen and senators.  NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH WOULD BE PRESIDENT AQUINO HIMSELF, who had been a congressman and senator during President Gloria Arroyo’s term.

Does anyone still remember the words to “Magkaisa?”

28 Replies to “A Reaction to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s September 25 Privilege Speech On PDAF or Pork Barrel Funds”

  1. Thanks for your usual excellent take on a very important issue, Paul. As I’m an avid reader of your and other GetReal blogs, I know that our country has all but hit rock bottom. Can you give me possible scenarios from hereon, Paul? Need to know from the enlightened ones….

  2. bakit ganon ang philippine government? isang big production na teleserye na laging ginagawang tanga ang mga manonood. parang isang malaking palabas lang nangyayari sa kaso ng korupsyon. may mga aksyon silang gagawin para mejo matuwa mga pilipino, masabing may progress. pero later on ganon pa rin.

    sa paninisi lang magagaling.

    1. He will probably betray Aquino to save his own worthless hide like he did with Arroyo or just deny the truth like what the noytards and yellow zombies are doing over on facebook.

  3. I do not know why the writers of those news releases included my name and used me as a talking head (as you said). I wasnt interviewed by any of those writers for their piece.

    In fact, I welcome the privilege speech of Senator Estrada because any revelations or evidence presented helps the public see the whole picture of corruption in government.

    This is my real take on the matter:


    1. I really found it odd that professors from UP and Ateneo would come out with statements before Jinggoy’s speech was delivered. And I had a hunch that you and the other professors were being used as attributions for a statement. It’s sloppily executed propaganda.

  4. Everything Jinggoy Estrada said in his speech are in the COA reports. As De Lima mentioned during the Senate investigation, they are filling criminal charges against those alleged to have misused government funds in tranches, as they are still compiling evidence against the other lawmakers involved. At the least, there are 3 Senators recommended for plunder charges in the first tranch. Let us give the government enough time to file charges against the rest. Or we can have a public lynching of everyone involved to teach them all a lesson they will never forget.

    1. The Ombudsman can, still, at this point, look at the complaint and say that there’s really no basis for plunder. After all, it’s just a complaint at this point.

      However, the thing is that the Ombudsman is under a lot of pressure right now to deliver the goods, so to speak.

      First there is the bullying of the yellow press and then there are the hundreds of legislators who may also be investigated like the nearly four dozen or so other legislators.

      But unlike the Supreme Court where the pressure is diffused among several justices, I think Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales bears the pressure alone and we have yet to see how she’ll decide on the complaint.

  5. My personal opinion…ABOLITION of Pork Barrel…to stop CORRUPTION…I strongly agree with Mr Ted Failon, to change our form of GOVERNMENT to a UNICAMERAL….dismantle “CONGRESS”…no more PARTY LIST

    1. Unicameral/bi-cam/federal/parliamentary – the result is the same. Because its the same idiot Filipinos will get to select the same old trapoliticians.

  6. Let’s give Jinggoy another chance at a privileged speech because he has not (yet) raised any point to defend himself from the charges against him

    1. I think he said it clearly in his speech that he wasn’t going to defend himself at the senate but rather wait for the charges to be filed in court.

      The thing is, strictly speaking, he hasn’t been charged yet. What we have is merely a complaint at the Ombudsman, who must sift through the evidence and figure out whether she’s going to file charges at the Sandiganbayan or not.

      So, Estrada has some basis for saying that there is nothing to respond to at the moment since there are no formal charges.

      If there were an Ethics investigation at the Senate, then perhaps, he’d really have to defend himself at the Senate. Which reminds me, isn’t that Miriam’s committee? Or did things change?

  7. alam pala ni jingoy ang coruption sa govt.bakit ngayon lang pinalabas dahil ba tagilid na sia kaya samasama na lang lahat. magsama kayong lahat kulungan mga politician

  8. Estrada was part of the political establishment. He was allied to Aquino. Enrile was then allied to Estrada. Enrile was the one who kicked out CJ Corona, from the Supreme Court . Estrada voted for the ouster of SJ chief Corona.
    Now, they are all political enemies. Because 2016 Presidential election is on the horizon. These idiots think that movies and politics are the same. That, we voters don’t have much intelligence….

  9. I could not read this after:”This is not about’..the tax-payers money being stolen,WTF???

    R U KIDDING? THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT ITS ABOUT! The people are powerless to stop it, unless they just go and drag the officials into the streets and kill them, AND YOU SHOULD KNOW IT!

    What do you suggest people do? Participate in a rigged election? Sign a petition? Chatter on-line about the injustices being committed?

    Be realistic Farol, THIS WHOLE PDAF SCANDAL is about politicians STEALING THE PEOPLE’s money and/or accepting bribes from powerful business owners and using their positions to their own personal gain. These three things equal THEFT/STEALING FROM THE PEOPLE….MY GOD MON!


    1. Don’t get all worked up Bjorn, if you calm down and think about it again perhaps things will be clearer to you.

      I think “stealing” as a term used to describe this complex mess is a bit inexact.

      It’s possible, after all, that tax payers money may not have been stolen at all but merely re-aligned for other purposes. Such re-alignments, if it complies with COA rules, may be deemed legal – in fact.

      To prove that money had been stolen, you have to prove that government money had gone to the senators or congressmen implicated in this mess.

      So far, what has surfaced in the whole slew of testimonies is that PDAF went to NGOs owned by Napoles and not PDAF went to a Senator or Congressman.

      So, what “stealing” are we talking about given the facts that have surfaced so far?

      Sure, Rappler and other newspapers have highlighted the personal acquisitions of Senator Estrada, but has any proof surfaced that the money used to purchase these acquisitions came from PDAF or Janet Napoles?

      To prove that, you’d have to look into all his financial documents related to the purchase of those acquisitions.

      1. Look, the horse dung has been going on long enough. To stand there and say: “Who stole what and when..” is to deny that the entire system is corrupt, when it is EXACTLY THAT! The COA has not audited the GOCC’s in 5 years, half of the countries GDP is deemed ‘LOST’ each year! and where is it going Mr. Farol? Live in a fantasy all you like and tell someone else to ‘prove’ who stole what, coz anyone with a brain knows the paper trail is soooo convoluted and rigged to go where it is pointed, that an investigation will yield little, but it doesn’t mean the thievery is not happening.
        IF IF IF the only reason these scumbags seek elected office is to get their hands on the keys to the treasury then it stands to reason that they are all thieves! All of them are guilty as shit and do not even deserve trials. They need to be told that there will be no more SCAMM TRIALS, no more rigged elections because they are all being removed from office, and those who do not leave willingly? Well,just kill them all now!Filipino’s should be screaming in unison outside the halls of power for these thieves to leave or run the risk of not being able to.
        if you think anything is going to change unless the people who are running the country RIGHT NOW are removed…NOW, you are seriously delusional.

  10. If the income tax revenue of the gov’t is only 20% of the national budget, do not forget the 12% VAT that covers all the living and business expenses of the citizenry, including toll gate fees to expressways which are actually the duty and responsibility of the government. On top of that, add the Malamplaya Fund, plus the Foreign borrowings of the government. The government is rich, but people are getting poorer.

  11. While Estrada is implicated with the Janet Napoles PDAF scam, I welcome him ratting on the rest of his colleagues.

    People ask why now Jinggoy? Of course, because he is backed into a corner. Jinggoy was an ally before and now he’s backed into a corner while the rest of the Senate is mum about the issue.

    I don’t understand why the PNOY hasn’t gone after the rest of these fake NGOs. Assuming that Napoles operated with Estrada, Revilla and Enrile…which congressmen and senators did the rest of the fake NGOs operate with? I doubt its the same 3 considering they were giving bulk of their PDAF to Napoles. So with absolute certainly we know other Senators/Congressmen were also involved. It’s just a matter of different patronage.

    Now where’s the public outrage for the rest of these fake NGOs? NOWHERE!!! Our attention is solely focused on Napoles where these other scum are probably hightailing out of the country!

    The only answer now is to abolish PDAF!!!

    1. More to the point here… Why only now Pnoy?

      You have to remember that Pnoy was a three term congressman before being a senator and he most probably knew that this PDAF scam was pretty much going around in congress as well as the senate.

      If at all he had been really against corruption, he would have first pursued the abolition of PDAF as soon as he was sworn in as President.

      1. Some bits and pieces of not so corrption-free Pnoy’s administration can be sorted out from reports if were really vigilant and not selective. i read last year sometime in august 2012 that more than P800 millions of DSWD conditional cash transfer fund channel through NGOs were un-liquidated and during this year’s SONA of Pnoy that NIA reported 100% implementation of obligated irrigation fund but actual implementation is only 60%? nobody is making a follow through on these. middle class tend to show outrage when people like Napoles have the face to flaunt their stolen wealth. but frankly, everybody knows about SOP in every infrastructure project, 40% is automatically set-aside for the signing officials for said project, only 60% goes to project implementation. Everyone in the construction business knows about this. Abolition of PDAF rids us of elected officials being directed involved in corruption, but will this rid us of corruption from people in the National Government Agencies? I don’t think so.

  12. well,might be true because he has all resources to do so, and so to speak his background, now the mess he benefitted to it. better and foremost of all ,we knew them now, and voters will intelligently choose not to vote the TRAPOS politician… kudos

  13. I think these so-called lawmakers are good. I mean good for nothing. good in stealing to fill their pockets at the expense of the taxpayers money. They simply should be punished at the full extent of the law. No exeptions.

  14. Itong privillege speech ni Estrada bakit ngayong niya ito nilabas dapat nuon pa.
    Ang magnanakaw kapag nabisto ang modus niya ay siguradong gagawa ito ng paraan upang mapagtakpan ang kanyang kasalanan ganito ang nangyari kay Jinggoy Estrada.
    At kong totoo man ang acusation niya ay dawit parin siya pagkat kinonsinte niya ang anomalyang nagaganap sa paligid niya.
    Mahirap mang aminin halos lahat ng lawmakers natin ay uhaw sa pork kong kaya naman ang balat nila ay kumapal na sa langis ng pork iyan ang sanhi kaya nawalan na sila ng HIYA…

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