Activities, News »
25 August 2014
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)
Tinio reveals list of government personnel assigned for solons’ illegal pork
LUNETA, MANILA—ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio has released a list of government employees in three national agencies assigned to facilitate the funding requests of members of the House of Representatives for scholarships, medical assistance, and emergency employment.
According to Tinio, the list of so-called “focal persons,” consisting of names and contact numbers of government employees of the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Health, and Department of Labor and Employment, was distributed to House members on April 22, 2014. ”It’s another proof that President Aquino is secretly and illegally distributing pork to legislators despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional.”
Some P20.7 billion of the funds formerly known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 General Appropriations Act were realigned to six national government agencies. Of these, CHED got P4.1 billion for its scholarship program, DOH got P3 billion for medical assistance to indigent patients, and DOLE got P1 billion for its emergency employment programs (known as TUPAD and GIP). The Department of Social Welfare got P4 billion for its Crisis Intervention Program while TESDA got P1 billion for its skills training program. The Department of Public Works and Highways got P7.3 billion for various local infrastructure projects. Officially, these agencies maintain that legislators have no say in the use of these funds.
However, Tinio alleges that the Aquino administration secretly allows these funds to be used as personal discretionary funds of members of the House of Representatives, a practice declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. ”Specifically, the funds in CHED, DOH, DOLE, TESDA, and DSWD are further subdivided into individual lump sums for House members, with P14 million each from CHED, P10.5 million from DOH, P3.5 million from DOLE and from TESDA, and P14 million from DSWD. These personal lump sums are to be disbursed at the discretion of each House member, who alone decides to whom and how much of the funds will go.”
“Having been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, allowing members of Congress to access pork is not officially acknowledged. There are no written policies, guidelines, memoranda, or orders admitting that it goes on. Hence, Cabinet officials have had to hold face-to-face meetings with House members to explain that they can access their personal discretionary lump sums through so-called focal persons. These are government employees in their respective agencies who are tasked with facilitating the funding requests of congressmen and congresswomen,” explained Tinio. “Fortunately, we have been able to document some of these meetings and the unofficial documents that these agencies have given out to House members.”
According to the list released by Tinio, CHED’s focal persons include Director for Student Development and Services Isabel Inlayo, three of her staff, and its 16 regional directors. Also assigned as contact persons are DOLE’s regional directors (for district representatives) and Nenita Garcia, the Director of Financial Management Service (for party-list representatives). As for DOH, hospital staff are assigned to accommodate solons’ referred beneficiaries for each of the 136 DOH-retained and specialty hospitals covered by the MAP. Added Tinio: “These hospital personnel report to DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin, who is in charge of the medical assistance pork, officially known as the Medical Health Care Assistance Program (MCAP), and later renamed as the Medical Assistance Program (MAP).” (Please see attached list.)
Tinio denounced President Aquino for forcing these civil servants to take part in unconstitutional and illegal acts. ”For the sake of maintaining the system of political patronage, Aquino is suborning these employees to commit acts already declared illegal by the Supreme Court.”
The list is one of the pieces of evidence attached to the fourth impeachment complaint which Tinio filed against Aquino on August 11 along with 15 other complainants including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and leaders of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. The House leadership refused to refer it to the Justice Committee along with three other valid complaints on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Also included as evidence is the audio recording of a closed-door meeting held by the House Committee on Appropriations where CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said “I know it [referral of scholars by solons] was supposed to be illegal, dapat wala na but actually meron pa” and “I am also dealing and accepting the political reality that this is PDAF.” Another recording is of a meeting between Undersecretary Garin and several House members and their staff where the former assured the latter that “the decision of the Department is to do away with all walk-in patients because in the first place it was made clear to us that these funds are not DOH funds but are actually funds of Congressmen who are there to assist their constituents.”
“It is obvious that both the President and Congress cannot be trusted to respect and obey the law against pork barrel,” said Tinio. “The Supreme Court already declared as illegal pork the PDAF and any scheme like it where the President dangles funds as a carrot and stick to control Congress. President Aquino is lying to the people and committing illegal acts.”
“It is now up to the people to themselves enact a law that will criminalize the inclusion and approval of discretionary lump sum funds like PDAF and DAP in the national budget. This is the very reason why thousands of Filipinos today converge here at Luneta—to sign up for the genuine abolition of the pork barrel system. We want to put an end to a system that allows public funds to be used as though they were the personal funds of public officials.”
One year after it hosted the historic Million People’s March, Luneta will again serve as an anti-pork site, this time for Stand Up, Sign Up!, an activity held by the People’s Initiative Against Pork (PIAP) to gather signatures for the proposed law entitled “An Act Abolishing the Pork Barrel System.” If enacted, the people’s initiative bill will criminalize the proposal and approval in any budget law of any form of pork barrel funds. ###
August 15, 2014
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)
Legislator questions proposed P6,000 budget for 441 employees of National Printing Office
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio has questioned Malacañang’s proposal to provide a mere P6,000 annual budget for the 441 employees of the National Printing Office (NPO).
At yesterday’s House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the proposed 2015 budget of the Presidential Communication Operations Office and it’s attached agencies, Tinio pointed out that the National Printing Office will have a staff of 441 personnel in 2015. “These are all regular national government agency employees. Obviously, their salaries and benefits for one whole year cannot possibly be paid for by a budget of P6,000. So why ask for a mere P6,000?”
Pressed for an answer, PCOO chief Secretary Herminio Coloma said that, in accordance with an arrangement with the Department of Budget and Management, NPO operations, as well as salaries of its personnel, are paid for with funds derived from the income generated by the agency. The NPO is one of only two government entities authorized by law as the exclusive printer of the government’s accountable forms, including election ballots.
Tinio countered that such an arrangement is “unorthodox,” and asked for the legal basis authorizing it. “In fact, the Salary Standardization Law mandates that all national government plantilla positions are to be funded from the General Appropriations. In the absence of any other legal ground, this arrangement is unlawful.”
Tinio pointed out that the welfare of NPO employees is at stake. “The law says that the budget for personnel must be funded in the General Appropriations Act in order to guarantee that employees’ salaries, allowances, and benefits will be paid, no matter what. Paying their compensation from income exposes the employees and their families to unnecessary risk. This is unacceptable.”
Tinio added that, based on previous years’ budgets, the NPO would need approximately P150 million to pay the salaries, allowances, and benefits of their employees.
Tinio urged the Appropriations Committee to require the DBM to explain. “Is this a case of the DBM playing fast and loose once again with the GAA and other budget-related laws passed by Congress? This budget cannot be approved unless this issue is resolved satisfactorily.”
The Committee agreed to further investigate the matter. #
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. ###
Activities, Headline, News »
AGAINST PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III
FILED BY TEACHERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EDUCATION SECTOR
ON THE HIDDEN CONGRESSIONAL PORK
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. Ochoaruling 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.
The following individuals belonging to different organizations and unions of public school teachers and employees in the education sector signed the impeachment complaint:
- ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio (a member of the House of Representatives),
- Bienvenido Lumbera (National Artist for Literature),
- Cynthia N. Lumbera,
- Benjamin G. Valbuena (Chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines),
- Francisca L. Castro (Secretary General of ACT Philippines),
- Vladimer A. Quetua (Deputy Secretary General of ACT Philippines),
- Dr. Priscilla D. Ampuan (President of Quezon City Public School Teachers Association),
- Joselyn F. Martinez (Secretary of the ACT National Capital Region-Union),
- Louie L. Zabala (President of the Manila Public School Teachers Association),
- Cleve Kevin Robert V. Arguelles (Spokesperson of ACT State Universities and Colleges),
- Veronica L. Gregorio (Local Universities and Colleges Representative of ACT State Universities and Colleges),
- Felix Pariñas (Former National President of All-UP Workers Union),
- Dr. Ramon Guillermo (National President of All UP Workers Union)
- Dr. Gerardo Lanuza (Chairperson of Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy),
- Prof. Sarah Jane Raymundo (Convenor of UP Kilos Na), and
- Prof. Emmanuel Leyco (President of AIM Faculty Association).
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 Decisionis 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. ###
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.