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PRESS RELEASE: Hidden pork to ensure charter change approval in House

4 March 2014 No Comment



4 March 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)


Hidden pork to ensure charter change approval in House


With the unusually fast progress of the charter change resolution despite opposition from several sectors and legal luminaries, the Aquino administration will rely on hidden pork to ensure the amendment of the Constitution, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said.


“The committee approval of the ChaCha resolution after only a few meetings is not surprising,” observed Tinio.  “No doubt, Malacanang has been using its wide arsenal of congressional and presidential pork to grease the approval despite heavy substantive and procedural objections to it.”


Tinio recently revealed P20.8 billion of “House pork” tucked into the 2014 budgets of six line agencies and revealed the formal and informal practices used by legislators to access it, including a form circulating among House members which serves as listing of beneficiaries identified by lawmakers.


“Such informal practices of maintaining the pork barrel system are illegal following the Supreme Court decision. Moreover, they can only persist because of the conscious and willful participation of the President and his Cabinet,” said Tinio. “In sustaining the Congressional pork barrel through hidden or informal means, Malacañang is  violating the law and deceiving the public.


Tinio also found P1.8 billion of “Senate pork” in several agencies.  The 2014 budget was enacted a month after the Supreme Court struck down the Priority Development Assistance Fund as unconstitutional and prohibited lawmakers from post-enactment intervention in accessing agency funds.


“The administration’s hand behind the overspeeding chacha train is obvious as its main drivers are Aquino allies,” added Tinio.  “Despite the people’s outrage and the Supreme Court decision, the working relationship between Malacañang and the Legislature continues to be greased by pork. President Aquino’s record of using PDAF and other forms of pork, such as DAP, to control congress is undeniable. So we expect him to go all-out with dispensing pork to ensure that this unpopular and anti-people charter change resolution breezes through Congress. Only popular opposition can stop it in its tracks.”


If enacted, Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 will pave the way for amendments, by mere legislation, of the constitution to allow foreign ownership of land, public utilities, natural resources, and media and advertising, among others. “Hidden pork will be used to facilitate the exploitation of our people and the plunder of our land and resources,” said Tinio. ###

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