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PNoy’s unilateral suspension of PDAF shows that President is ultimately accountable for pork abuses

21 August 2013 No Comment

20 August 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on President Aquino’s suspension of releases of Congressional pork barrel funds, known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF):

 

President Aquino’s suspension of all PDAF releases, pending the results of an ongoing investigation into the P10 billion pork barrel scam, is a token act intended to take the heat off of the hated pork barrel, and ultimately, save it. Not surprisingly, the President makes no mention whatsoever regarding the suspension of his own considerable pork barrel funds. President Aquino is stubbornly defending the PDAF despite overwhelming evidence that the pork barrel system is an inherently flawed system of patronage and corruption that can’t be fixed with more rules. The people’s clamor is for abolition of the pork barrel system, not just suspension. The President would do well to heed their call.

In the wake of the revelations regarding the pork barrel scam and the COA report detailing massive irregularities in the use of pork, there has been a frenzy of finger-pointing and buck-passing between legislators and implementing agencies as to who will be held accountable. The unilateral suspension of pork funds by President Aquino demonstrates once and for all that the buck stops with the occupant of Malacañang. It is the President that is ultimately accountable for all PDAF releases. This includes the P10 billion in pork barrel funds that were allegedly released by former President Gloria Arroyo to the bogus NGOs of Janet Lim Napoles, with the connivance of legislators and other public officials, as well as any anomalous releases of PDAF under the current administration. Massive plunder of pork happens because the President lets it happen. In the final reckoning, not only legislators, officials in the implementing agencies, and private individuals like Napoles, but also the President (previous and current), must be held accountable for the massive plunder of pork barrel funds.

Puwede palang pigilan ng Presidente ang pag-release ng pondo para sa pork kahit kailan niya maisipan. Bakit hindi ginamit ang ganitong kapangyarihan para pigilan ang release ng pondo sa mga ma-anomalyang proyekto ng mga Senador at Kongresista?

What’s also clear now is that the President’s power to impound or withhold the release of pork barrel funds has only been used as the proverbial carrot-and-stick to reward its allies and punish its foes and thereby influence Congress, but never to deny funds to questionable projects of corrupt legislators.

We should also reiterate that President Aquino’s unilateral suspension highlights the absolute power held by Malacañang over a supposedly co-equal branch of government, undermining checks-and-balances and rendering Congressional oversight effectively meaningless. This is one more reason why PDAF must be abolished, not just reformed. #

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