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[ 11 Aug 2014 | Comments Off on Impeachment complaint against President Aquino filed by Rep. Antonio Tinio and other representatives of workers in the education sector ]

Executive Summary

IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT

AGAINST PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III

FILED BY TEACHERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EDUCATION SECTOR

ON THE HIDDEN CONGRESSIONAL PORK

 

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ACT Teachers Rep. Tinio with other complainants, including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, ACT Philippines Chairperson Benjamin Valbuena and Secretary General Francisca Castro, shortly before filing the complaint.

 

Nature of the Action

This impeachment complaint is filed against President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution under Section 2 Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.

The thesis of this complaint is that, despite the Belgica vs. Ochoa ruling striking down the PDAF laws and unwritten PDAF-like schemes as unconstitutional, President Aquino is perpetuating hidden, informal practices whereby legislators have entitlement to lump sum public funds in the form of House pork, or the funds realigned from deleted PDAF item in the 2014 national budget to Departments of Health (DOH), Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).  This continued existence of the illegal congressional pork under the direction and license of Aquino amounts to his betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

 

Complainants

The following individuals belonging to different organizations and unions of public school teachers and employees in the education sector signed the impeachment complaint:

  1. ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio (a member of the House of Representatives),
  2. Bienvenido Lumbera (National Artist for Literature),
  3. Cynthia N. Lumbera,
  4. Benjamin G. Valbuena (Chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines),
  5. Francisca L. Castro (Secretary General of ACT Philippines),
  6. Vladimer A. Quetua (Deputy Secretary General of ACT Philippines),
  7. Dr. Priscilla D. Ampuan (President of Quezon City Public School Teachers Association),
  8. Joselyn F. Martinez (Secretary of the ACT National Capital Region-Union),
  9. Louie L. Zabala (President of the Manila Public School Teachers Association),
  10. Cleve Kevin Robert V. Arguelles (Spokesperson of ACT State Universities and Colleges),
  11. Veronica L. Gregorio (Local Universities and Colleges Representative of ACT State Universities and Colleges),
  12. Felix Pariñas (Former National President of All-UP Workers Union),
  13. Dr. Ramon Guillermo (National President of All UP Workers Union)
  14. Dr. Gerardo Lanuza (Chairperson of Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy),
  15. Prof. Sarah Jane Raymundo (Convenor of UP Kilos Na), and
  16. Prof. Emmanuel Leyco (President of AIM Faculty Association).

 

The Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives received the complaint at 12:00 noon.  Under the rules of the House, the Office of the Secretary General should immediately refer the complaint to the Speaker for action.

The Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives received the complaint at 12:00 noon. Under the rules of the House, the Office of the Secretary General should immediately refer the complaint to the Speaker for action.

 

Grounds

I.  Betrayal of public trust

Aquino betrayed the public trust by perpetuating congressional pork through informal practices in defiance of the ruling of the Supreme Court, to the detriment of public interest.

Aquino also betrayed the public trust by breaking his oath that he will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil his duties as President and preserve and defend the Constitution, execute our laws, and do justice to every person.

His offense to the people is compounded by his deceit of the public, whom he led into believing that he has enacted a “pork-less budget” and that he will comply with the law against congressional pork and eliminate once and for all, in all the agencies under his watch, acts by which pork is dealt to lawmakers.

Complainants include as evidence audio recordings and public admissions by officials of at least three agencies handling the House pork that congressional pork still exists through unwritten, informal practices.  These include (1) an audio recording of an “executive session” recently conducted by the House Committee on Appropriations to discuss with Secretary Patricia Licuanan the CHED scholarship program, (2) an audio recording of DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin during a briefing with Members of the House of Representatives and their staff to discuss the DOH Medical Assistance Program, and (3) official press releases and news articles bearing admissions of DOLE Regional Directors that their offices invite and allow participation of lawmakers in the implementation of emergency employment and government internship programs.

Per these admissions by Aquino’s cabinet secretaries and other executive officials:

(1)             the congressional pork barrel continues to exist despite the SC ruling against it,

(2)             the agencies handling the House pork still set aside personal lump sums for House Members which the latter can tap and disburse according to their discretion, and

(3)             these executive officials have put in place procedures and mobilized a significant amount of personnel and resources to enable lawmakers to exercise illegal post-enactment authority over the programs funded by the House pork.

The mechanisms admitted by Aquino’s alter egos and subordinates are necessarily informal—to conceal from the public the persistence of congressional pork barrel and the fact that the Chief Executive is subverting the law and public institutions.  It is a mark of bad faith.

With his perpetuation of these informal practices, Aquino is the mastermind behind hidden congressional pork, and is forcing the entire bureaucracy of the involved agencies to implement illegal acts.  The knowledge and acts of his alter egos and subordinates in the House pork agencies, plus his alter ego in the Department of Budget and Management who pig-headedly defends congressional pork are likewise his acts and knowledge.

The complaint details circumstances the totality of which shows that Aquino is (1) fully aware that the legislators’ post-enactment authority or their entitlement to particular earmarked funds prohibited by the Decision is alive and oinking in the post-PDAF budget and (2) also fully aware of, if not endorsing, the outlawed informal practices going on within his Cabinet.  These circumstances are not coincidental but reflect a common, overarching policy to retain a system already outlawed by the SC.

These informal practices of congressional pork injure the public interest.  It results to the presidential capture of Congress and erodes the system of checks and balances which gives life to the Constitutional provision of accountability of public officers.  Under this hidden, worsened congressional pork being perpetuated by Aquino, the delivery of basic public services such as education, health care, social welfare, and employment assistance is politicized, denying access to the majority of the Filipino people.

By perpetuating congressional pork through informal practices, Aquino is committing, at the maximum, malfeasance in the performance of his official duties or, at the minimum, nonfeasance by failing to prevent the perpetuation of congressional pork.

He also betrayed the public trust by breaking his oath that he will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil his duties as President and preserve and defend the Constitution, execute our laws, and do justice to every person.

 

II.  Culpable violation of the Constitution

Aquino wilfully and intentionally violated Section 17 and Section 5 of Article VII of the Constitution by perpetuating congressional pork barrel and post-enactment intervention of legislators in defiance of the clear and express prohibition of the Supreme Court

Aquino is duty-bound by Section 17, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, as well as his oath of office as stated in Section 5, Article VII, to faithfully and conscientiously execute the laws yet he violates the law against congressional pork barrel clearly and expressly pronounced by the Supreme Court.

Aquino, being the President, also knows that all the principles violated by congressional pork barrel have constitutional underpinnings—the separation of power, checks and balance, transparency and accountability—and are the very bases of a working democratic and transparent government. ###

 

Click here to read the 39-page complaint against Pres. Aquino on the hidden congresssional pork.

 

From the Impeachment Complaint:

The SC has ruled that the practice of dealing pork to lawmakers (1) violates constitutional principles of separation of powers, the non-delegability of legislative power, and the presidential veto power; (2) impairs public accountability; and (3) subverts genuine local autonomy.  In other words, congressional pork, however dealt, destroys the foundations of democratic and transparent government and allows the people’s money to be used for purposes other than their interest.

The Decision [banning congressional pork] embodies the letter and spirit of the law, clear and undeniable to everyone—most especially the President, the highest official duty-bound to implement all laws.  This law, in turn, ensures that the interests of the people are served, through the proper and transparent management and disbursement of the funds they have entrusted to the government.

In spite of the Decision, and contrary to his pronouncements to the public that “it is time to abolish PDAF,” President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has retained the congressional pork barrel—albeit in ways that are hidden in plain sight, an open secret running rampant in agencies directly under his watch. 

By his perpetuation of informal practices of dealing pork barrel to members of Congress to the detriment of public interest, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III broke his oath of office and betrayed the public trust.  By his blatant violation of the legal prohibition against congressional pork, he deliberately, gravely, and culpably violated the Constitution.  With these acts, he has proven himself unfit and undeserving to continue occupying the seat entrusted to him by the Filipino people.

 

Headline, In The News, News »

[ 8 Aug 2014 | Comments Off on Solon questions illegal, DAP-like realignment of DAR budget ]

News Release

August 8, 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio slammed agrarian reform officials for their illegal juggling of funds in the Department of Agrarian Reform budget.

This illegal realignment surfaced when DAR employees failed to receive their salaries for July.  According to the employees, the DBM informed them that it was awaiting requirements for a proposed juggling of over P400 million in the DAR’s current budget.

As revealed by Tinio during the DAR’s budget hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday, the proposal was contained in a letter dated June 10, 2014, signed by DAR Undersecretary Perry Villanueva with the approval of Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, endorsing “the recalibration of the DAR’s 2014 targets and budget in relation to the approved 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).”  (Please see the four-page letter in the attached file.)

The “recalibration” calls for the transfer of P412.447 million appropriated by the 2014 GAA from the regional offices to the DAR Central Office.  The letter cites as reasons for the so-called recalibration “critical activities that need fast and immediate actions…not funded under the GAA.”  It also said that “there is also a need to conduct an Impact Assessment of CARP for its 25 years of implementation,” adding that “the program is “urgent but not funded under the 2014 GAA.”  The new activities to be funded under the recalibrated budget include “LAD [Land Acquisition and Distribution] activities for Hacienda Luisita” and “DAR-NAPC Partnership.”  (Full list in Annex A of the letter.)

Upon Tinio’s questioning, DAR officials said that the proposal has already been approved by the DBM.

“What the President does, his Cabinet officials will do as well. If the President usurps the power of the purse of Congress and aggressively justifies the same to the public, is it any wonder that DAR officials now feel entitled to do the same?” said Tinio. “The President committed unconstitutional acts through his Disbursement Acceleration Program. Now DAR officials appear to be committing similar acts through so-called budget recalibration.”

The lawmaker noted that “there’s no such animal as recalibration” in the laws and regulations pertaining to budget execution. “It’s a new-fangled term invented by DAR to justify illegal juggling of funds appropriated for specific purposes by Congress. It’s actually technical malversation, a criminal act prohibited by the Revised Penal Code.”

“The Supreme Court decision on DAP reminded us of the basic tenet of the Constitution that ‘no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.’ And yet we have the DAR asking that its current budget be used for activities not funded under the 2014 GAA, not just once but twice in the same letter. What’s worse is that the DBM approved it. It seems clear that this Administration really thinks of the Constitution as a mere scrap of paper,” said Tinio.

Tinio pointed out that the DAR “recalibration” directly relates to the ongoing debate on the Aquino administration’s proposed redefinition of savings and augmentation. “This is exactly what will happen if Congress adopts Malacañang’s DAP-inspired redefinition of savings and augmentation. Agencies will feel free to disregard the appropriations given to them as a mandate by Congress and craft their own budgets without Congressional authorization. This subverts transparency and undermines effective oversight on the use of the people’s money.”

Upon Tinio’s motion, the Committee on Appropriations resolved that DAR and DBM would be summoned for another hearing to explain the so-called recalibration.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of another usurpation of the powers of the purse by the President and his alter egos,” concluded Tinio. ###

[Attachments: 4 pages of the DAR letter containing the approved recalibration]

 

 recalibration of DAR budget4 recalibration of DAR budget3 recalibration of DAR budget2 recalibration of DAR budget1

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[ 6 Aug 2014 | Comments Off on Solon scores DBM proposal for pay hikes in 2016 ]

PRESS STATEMENT

August 5, 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)

 

Salary hikes for government employees are possible–but only if the Aquino government, after it conducts a long-delayed review of the pay schedule for state workers, finds them “feasible.”

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio slammed today the statement of the Aquino administration, aired by the Department of Budget and Management, which said that government needs to study first the compensation classification system (CCS) of government employees before it can propose pay increases.  The DBM said it will probably have its findings ready by 2016.

The administration issued this statement as its response to 39 bills heard today by the House Committee on Appropriations calling for increases in the salaries and benefits of government employees, including Tinio’s House Bill 245 for teachers and non-teaching staff in basic education, HB 246 for instructors and professors in universities and colleges, and HB 250 for a P4,000 monthly Personnel Economic Relief Allowance.  Also included is HB 3015 calling for an additional P6,000 in the minimum pay of all government employees.

Said Tinio, “This statement proves that this administration does not heed the loud clamor of state workers for immediate economic relief.  It refuses to include provisions for salary increases in its proposed budgets, like the one its recently submitted to Congress for 2015.”

“Secondly, its belated review of the CCS shows that this administration violated another law–the Salary Standardization Law 3–and trampled the rights of government employees workers to adequate compensation in the process.”

Section 1(e) of Joint Resolution No. 4 or the SSL 3 mandates government to conduct a periodic review of the salary scale every three years upon effectivity of the law, taking into consideration “the possible erosion in the purchasing power due to inflation,” among other factors.

“The fact remains that workers in the government need salary increases because of the high costs of living, not because DBM or Aquino says so.  They need pay hikes now, not in 2016,” Tinio added.

Tinio urged Congress to urgently act on the 39 proposed measures increasing the compensation for government employees in the face of Malacañang’s insensitivity to the plight of teachers and other government employees.  ###

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[ 3 Jul 2014 | Comments Off on PRESS RELEASE: On the Supreme Court decision declaring DAP unconstitutional ]

PRESS RELEASE

1 July 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

The Supreme Court decision has practically affirmed that President Aquino is indeed the Pork Barrel King. Through the DAP, President Aquino transformed the national budget into one big Presidential pork barrel, seizing control of large portions of appropriations and diverting funds for purposes other than those authorized by Congress, in order to dispense political patronage. The Constitution and existing laws have been violated, and for this the President and his Budget Secretary must be held accountable.

For sure, President Aquino will be facing an impeachment complaint when Congress reopens at the end of the month, which will certainly cast a dark cloud over his upcoming State of the Nation Address.

Sec. Abad should immediately resign as the chief architect and promoter of the DAP and face criminal prosecution. ###