so, we’ve been had, we who rejoiced when the supreme court declared the PDAF unconstitutional last november and thought we had heard, seen, the last of it.
Pork Barrel is very much alive and kicking! warns prof. ben diokno. and, like Dracula, the pork barrel is alive, in another guise, bewails neal cruz.
as it turns out, only 15 of the 24 senators gave up their pork barrel. 9 senators — the cayetano sibs, the estrada-ejercito sibs, lapid, trillanes, recto, and miriam — did not, and instead “realigned” their PDAFs with the budget of one or another line agency, or the calamity fund, in the bicam- and senate-approved 2014 budget that the prez signed into law last december.
senator chiz escudero, chairman of the senate finance committee, and very much the pilosopo lawyer, justifies it thus:
Yes, says Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate finance committee. The realignments (Escudero calls them “amendments”) came before the implementation of the P2.265-trillion national budget, he says.
The high court had declared unconstitutional all provisions of the law that allowed legislators “to wield any form of post-enactment authority in the implementation of the budget.”
But Escudero says the identification of beneficiaries of the realigned PDAF “does not violate” the high court’s ruling. “It’s well within our right to review and approve the budget,” he says. “This is preenactment intervention.”
say rin ni bayan muna partylist rep neri colmenares:
“The Supreme Court was not clear on whether lawmakers could realign the funds or not because it is clear that Congress has the power of the purse and has the prerogative where government money should be spent,” says Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares. “What it was clear on was that lump-sum items should be discontinued and that everything in the budget should be itemized.”
at parang tuwang-tuwa lang si senator chiz, as in, tipong naisahan nila ang presidente?
“In accordance with the powers of Congress, all of us can introduce an amendment. That’s our legislative power. If the President submits the budget, we can’t skirt our duty to amend it. What are we, a rubber stamp?” Escudero said by phone, chuckling.
more like, naisahan ang anti-pork people’s movement, as in, nakahanap sila ng legal loophole (salamat sa supremes?) and it’s as if the people’s outcry against all pork-n-patronage fell on deaf ears. it’s as if two of the nine senators, estrada and revilla, were not facing charges of receiving substantial kickbacks from fake NGOs identified with the notorious accused napoles. and it’s as if the other seven senators were themselves untouched by any suspicion of similar kickbacks in the past.
of course, it might be that these realignments no longer allow kickbacks of any sort in any way. if so, i wish they’d come right out and say it, assure us na, wala na pong kickback. but of course they won’t because it would be to admit na oo nga, dati ay may kickback.
but, hey, jinggoy estrada, who aligned half his PDAF to the budget of the City of Manila of which his tatay, ex-prez erap, is mayor, is the most unrepentant, defiant, shameless, and brazen of them all. hiyang hiya naman ako for the senate, who allowed him to gift his tatay’s city hall with a hundred million bucks. hiyang hiya rin ako for erap, who had no idea daw that it was coming, and who doesn’t have the sense to say no-thanks, kahit out of delicadeza man lang.