On June 26, 2014, an article entitled “Has your congressman/woman signed up for your salary increase?” was published on the official website of ACT Teachers. The full text of the article read as follows:
Check the table below if your District Representative has signed as co-author of House Bill 245 or An Act Increasing the Minimum Monthly Salaries of Public School Teachers to Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000) and Non-Teaching Personnel to Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000) filed by ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio.
This was followed by a table listing the names of district representatives and indicating with a “yes” or “no” whether or not they have co-authored HB 245.
The intention of the article was to urge teachers to lobby with districts representatives in order to get their support for HB 245 through co-authorship.
In early October, some four months after that article was posted, I got calls from a number of colleagues explaining that teachers in their district were making them account for voting against HB 245.
Clearly, there has been a misunderstanding. Somehow, the list on our website was erroneously interpreted by teachers not as a co-authorship list but as a list of those who voted for or against the bill. This is unfortunate because, firstly, no vote has taken place and secondly, the teachers’ demand for salary increase enjoys widespread support in Congress.
In response to this feedback, we immediately took down the post and issued a clarification on our website.
I sincerely regret that the manner of presentation of the information on our website may have inadvertently contributed to such a misunderstanding and apologize to colleagues in the House who have been unduly affected by this incident. ###
The pork barrel of the President and the Congress have been exposed and condemned by the Filipino people as major sources of graft and corruption and of patronage politics and detrimental to the poor and the Filipino people.
This Act abolishes the presidential and congressional pork barrel, mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to ten years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office.
Definition of pork barrel
Pork Barrel is a lump sum public fund with sole discretion given to the President, legislator or group of legislators, or any public officer. The exercise of discretion by public officers relates to the allocation, release or use of these public funds, the identification or selection of projects, implementors or beneficiaries, or any or a combination of or all of these.
- All proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster reponse, the contingency fund of up to 5% and intelligence/confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.
- Special Funds like Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress. The President Social Fund is abolished.
- All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation.
The penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to ten years and perpetual disqualification from public office shall be imposed those who commit any of the following acts:
- Any national official (the President, his subordinate or member of Congress) who authorizes the spending of public money that is not covered by or is in violation of any appropriation law.
- Any national official who includes a lump sum amount in any budget proposal submitted to Congress, or any member of Congress who approves the inclusion of lump sum discretionary fund in the general or supplemental appropriations acts.
- Any member of Congress or his agent who directly or indirectly intervenes or participates in the implementation of any appropriation law through any post-enactment act or practice.
- Any national official who declares and utilize savings in circumvention or violation of Article VI Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and this Act.
- Any national official who withdraws unobligated funds and declares and utilize as savings said unobligated funds before the end of the fiscal year.
- Any national official who impounds any appropriation or portion thereof unless there is an official declaration by the President of an unmanageable National Government budget deficit.
- Any person, including a private individual, who persuades or cooperates with any national official in violating this Act.
Amendment and repealing clause
This Act may only be repealed, modified or amended by a law that has been approved by the people under the system of initiative and referendum enshrined in the Constitution.
Let’s go for 6 million signatures! Let your signature be part of history as we enact the first national law enacted directly by the Filipino people themselves. If enacted, our bill will dismantle one of the pillars of corruption and traditional politics and will ensure that all our taxes will go to education and other basic social services.
Stand by for the Visayas and Mindanao legs of Stand Up, Sign Up Against Pork Barrel and Corruption in the coming weeks. Watch out also for signature booths at schools, markets, plazas, and other sites that will be set up near you.
August 14, 2014
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on President Aquino’s move to amend the Constitution
Saan siya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha para humingi ng second term? Ngayon pang napatunayan nang nagagawa niyang magsinungaling sa publiko, lumabag sa Konstitusyon at batas at sumuway sa mga desisyon ng Korte Suprema?
President Aquino has proven that he is truly a chronic liar. After lying to the public about the supposed abolition of Congressional pork while secretly perpetuating it, he has now belied his own statements by announcing that he is open to amending the Constitution in order to clip the powers of the Judiciary and allow himself to run for a prohibited second term.
This is the President lighting the signal fire. The announcement, made exclusively to handpicked interviewer, is obviously part of an orchestrated public relations effort that had been building up for weeks. We can now expect his minions in government as well as civil society to stage a manufactured “clamor” to extend his stay in office beyond 2016.
This is Aquino’s Arroyo moment. His complete reversal on his declared stand against charter change in order to seek another term echoes former President Arroyo reneging on her Rizal Day promise not to run again. This is Aquino breaking his oath to preserve and defend the Constitution.
Aquino proves how grand delusions of righteousness can foster dictatorial tendencies. After usurping Congressional power of the purse through his Disbursement Acceleration Program, he now wants to clip the powers of the Supreme Court that called him out for doing so. Who knew that Daang Matuwid could turn out to be a shortcut to tyranny? He may be an Aquino but he’s nothing more than a Marcos wannabe.
If only he learned the right lessons from his mother. Cory Aquino famously led a million-people march to oppose charter change. PNoy will learn for himself that Presidents who seek to extend their stay in office will be relegated by the people to the trash bin of history. ###
Listen to admissions from two of Aquino’s cabinet secretaries that PDAF-like pork is still being cooked and served to congressmen and congresswomen, despite the Supreme Court decision declaring them unconstitutional.