Senate bet wants ‘pork’ scrapped



Senatorial candidate JC de los Reyes

Amid the Senate squabble over the unequal distribution of monetary benefits, senatorial candidate JC de los Reyes said he intends to introduce “thriftiness” into the legislature by abolishing the pork barrel whose use he described as “immoral.”

That would be one of the first things he would do if he is elected, De los Reyes of the Ang Kapatiran Party told a public forum conducted by the GMA show Unang Hirit on Wednesday.

De los Reyes took the same stance when he ran unsuccessfully for president in 2010.

Two other senatorial candidates, Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay and party-list representative Teodoro Casiño (Bayan Muna), said they would also favor the abolition of the pork barrel, which they had received in the past but which has lately been withheld from them.

But another candidate, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, a cousin of President Aquino, said he would want the pork barrel retained as it can be used for good endeavors.

Senators get P200 million a year in pork barrel funds—officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)—which they can allocate for any project they fancy. House members or district representatives have access to P70 million in PDAF a year for the same purpose. Apart from pork, lawmakers also receive funds for operating expenses, as well as other allowances and honoraria on top of their monthly salaries.

Senators recently found themselves being ranged against one another after it was disclosed that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had released additional funds for maintenance and other operating expenses, taken from the Senate’s savings, but gave all senators, save for four members, an additional P1.6 million. The four, who got only P250,000, protested the disparity.

De los Reyes said the practice of distributing pork barrel takes money away from more pressing projects, with lawmakers tending to spend on programs that would boost their political stock.

“It’s left to the discretion of legislators who are politically motivated to put the money in projects that would make them popular. That’s the problem, it’s an immoral system,” he said.

He said the money should go to priority projects that respond to the real needs of the real poor, not to undertakings favored by lawmakers.

Magsaysay said that if she had her way, the legislature would not be given pork barrel.

“The job of the legislative branch is to make laws, amend laws, repeal laws,” she said. The disbursement of the pork barrel is more of an executive function and should be exclusive to it so that lawmakers would not be confused about their real duties, she said.

“Some people run as congressmen or senators because of the PDAF. So they have a wrong set of priorities as to what are their roles. They already think that if you’re a congressman or senator, your primary role is to undertake projects,” she said.

Magsaysay has complained that the pork barrel for her district has been withheld since the Aquino administration took over, and believes the move was political because she was an ally of former President Gloria Arroyo.

Casiño said a legislator who is performing well would not need any pork barrel.

“It’s about time that congressmen and senators focus on their jobs as policymakers rather than as project implementors,” he said.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Summerspice

    I agree with this guy.They should totally abolish pork barrel for all poticians.It’s a source of corruption.

    • bantaybulee

      You know what else is a source of corruption? Politicians like De Los Reyes. 

    • Danny Jimenez

       Kung eto eh matuloy, cut my heart and my balls kung meron pang kakandidatong Senador o Congressmen sa ating bansa.

      Ang yayaman niyo pero ang daming mahihirap na Pinoy.

      Ginagawa nilang career ang congreso.

      Ang problem,kahit ma elek ka at mag file ka,HINDI APPRUBAHAN ng SENADO AND CONGRESO yan not unless lahat ng miyembro eh si Panfilo and Joker!

  • Pinoyexpat

    I totally agree. Then maybe by doing this, the personal income tax rate can be reduced to less than 20% as opposed to 32%. If any candidate will advocate this, he or she has my vote.

  • Rovingmoron

    You’re right. I agree with you 100% that scrapping the pork barrel will, once and for all, discourage politicians from running for public office. Instead, the PDAF will be channeled to a new agency or the Department of Finance, that will distribute the funds, depending on the infrastructure needs of the lawmakers’ districts and projects. Tingnan natin!

    • bantaybulee

      I don’t like your reasoning. You want to scrap the pork barrel because it will discourage politicians from running for public office? Sure the Pork is a good motivator, but it is not the all-encompassing evil here. Yes, they are appropriated funds and they create projects. The issue here is accountability, not the availability of the funds. 

      • Sirena101

        Accountability has always been the issue here.. if we held our politicians accountable for the pork barrel they have, then we would probably have better, cleaner projects. 

      • zafirol

         There is no accountability here cause the senate make laws to protect themselves. Forget about accountability cause it only happens in theory and in school discussions.
        Why would I , a senator make laws to put myself  in prison. Unless the people play an active role in the government, it is gonna be like this until your grandson  has his grandson.

      • zafirol

         The business sides to it is they have to steal the pork barrel to get even with what they spent in the election. How are you gonna expect a politician to function well when he is preoccupied of getting back his money spent during the election. With out the pork barrel, you will most likely have candidates who will run to serve the public without thinking of money in store when they win. Pork barrel encourage corruption, one reason people kill each other because of the big money involved. Millions of money. You will be always counting millions, not thousands. Just a lot of money. Then you will also have millions coming from Enrile as long as you let him do what he wants.

  • Rovingmoron

    Dapat sa mga local and national government officials and lawmakers, they’ll only get their salaries plus allowances, and nothing else. All the discretionary funds will be handled by the DOF. In this manner, request for funds must be coursed through the DOF, whose inspectors will inspect as to what particular project the funds were intended for use? After completion of the projects, the COA auditor’s audit inspection report must tally with what the DOF inspection team had done.

  • cute79

    Ok yan Mr De los Reyes.Subukan ka namin iboto at sana tutuparin mo binitawan mong salita.Sana marami pang bagong mukha na kakandidato at sang-ayon rin sa iyo dahil yan ang gusto ng taong bayan na itigil  ang pork barrel.
    Pero kay Mitos Magsaysay sori ka nalang dahil isa kang tuta ni GMA.
    Sana iboto natin ang mga bagong mukha sa pulitika ngayong darating na election.

    • Mark

      Ayos lang na bagong mukha ang iboto basta siguruhin lang na i-check din natin ang kwalipikasyon, mga pulitiko na konektado sila, kung may mga nakaraang kaso (i.e. corruption cases) at mga plataporma na siguradong makakatulong sa equal progress ng mga pilipino.

  • Ravens727

    Well said Mr. De los Reyes……but if there’s no pork barrel, then who is interested in running then…..?  kasi wala nang nanakawin……..

    • GO LP!

      How skewed the Filipino perception of modern day politics. How does De los Reyes expect to function in office when this statement basically accuses all of them of corruption? 

  • kuneherzzz

    In my personal opinion, the Pork Barrel Funds are a privilege for politicians. It is for their projects yes, but it is not in the design of things to make it as a source of self-promotion. Ideally, these funds are allocated for the projects of the senators, whether joint or independent. However, how they use these funds is totally up to them. If they use it to promote themselves, then okay. If they use responsibly, then that’s better… how ever, they still turn out into projects, they still turn out into actual things. 

    I think the problem here is not the Pork Barrel, but the one who is using the pork barrel. It’s not fair also to take out a privilege, one that might benefit upstanding senators say like Bam Aquino and Sonny Angara, and then deprive them of the opportunity to make a difference. 

  • GO LP!

    With great power comes great responsibility. The Philippines just need the FOI bill, transparency, accountability, and a little bit of intelligence in order to counter-act these “immoralities” surrounding the pork barrel. The pork barrel in itself, in essence, is a source of funds for the benefit of the people. It only becomes “immoral” when politicians use it for their own interests. In my view, abolishing the pork barrel will not solve any “immoral” issues here. It will only redirect it to someplace else. 

    You can’t help a murderer with a gun by taking away all his bullets. He’ll still find a way to murder you. 

  • Sirena101

    Pork Barrel is also a legitimate source of income for so many Filipinos around the country. Because of the projects created by the pork barrel, thousands of Filipinos are given livelihood, they get trained in a certain skill, and even sometimes, they have the opportunity to really rise above poverty and into financial stability. It also helps the government return the money from the people to the people. 

    For me, it is all just a matter of proper allocation of funds and accountability. I kind of agree with Bam Aquino that the Pork can be a source of good projects and that abolishing it might only cripple those thousands of people. 

    • novaliches

      Pork barrel supposed to be good, but not if at least 10% of the fund is “return to sender”.

    • John

      The More people holding funds, the more hard to pinpoint accountability..  i agree to leave project implementations to the executive branch.. Projects implemented by the executive branch also generate jobs, get training as long as its part of the overall master plan. Sabi walang pera ang bansa, pero dami pera ang bansa, hindi lang na prioritized yung mga dapat kailangan unang gawin

  • cute79

    Itigil ang Pork Barrel dahil yan ang ugat ng korapsiyon!!!

  • Ritchie Rich

    Ah… the age long debate of pork barrel funds and whether or not they are immoral. 

    A man is given P1,000,000 to do as he pleases. 

    He spends it all on drugs, women, and alcohol. 

    Is the money immoral? 

    Or is the person? 

    A different man is given P1,000,000 to do as he pleases.

    He builds small business ventures in rural areas to give thousands of Filipinos livelihood. 

    Is the money immoral?

    Or is the person? 


  • RBFjcj




    • novaliches

      Tama, they should just concentrate on their legislative work.  Give them pork barrel, and they will become corrupt.


    CORRUPTION IS INHERENT. NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, IT’S STILL CORRUPTION. kaya lang pagka sa senado, congress, judiciary at executive ay meron silang ibang-iba definition. gets nyo?

  • jo4210

    I would favor abolition of this “pork barrel” and those monies be used to better the lives of Filipinos.  There are so many worthwhile projects, from building decent homes for those underserved; creating jobs, infrastructures etc.  Unfortunately when these projects come to fruitition, they are often mismanaged and either they die on their tracts or just become waste,  

  • tanga_hanga_ni_abnoy

    sana manalo to tas alamin natin ulit kung ganun pa rin panindigan nya..i’ll tell you there are 1.2 Billlion reasons to sing a different tune once you are elected..kapalan lang ng mukha yan 

  • novaliches

    If we cut the pork for the congressman and senator, maybe we can reduce the tax burden of the lower income  group.  in the US, if you earned 30-40K or less you dont pay federal tax.

  • zafirol

    Promise lang yan, pagdating ng panahon, pareho rin ng dati. He has nor record of accomplishment. Filipino voters should base their votes on what a candidate has done not on what he can promise to do . How many years more for us people to learn not to be swayed by sweet promise . The candidates record speak for itself.

  • wilFired

    You bet, I will vote for you guys. It’s about time that those old policians wil go to drain.

  • Erwin Ross V. Dalao

    sinko manalong barko kung matutupad niya yan.

  • kimkim1226

    Kaya maraming gustong mag-senador dahil 200million a year x 30 percent equals 60 million sa bulsa. 90 million sa congressman. kaya mga kalsada natin tagpi2 o hindi putol2. maawa naman kayo sa bayan natin. be sincere and trifty because that money came from tax paid by filipino people. we are already beyond in southeast asia. 

  • John

    Kahit ok pa yung mga roads natin.. gagawin ulit para may kickback na naman..

  • isidro c. valencia

    Puede namang salaried employees (although elected by constituents) and mga legislators, may basic pay lang at allowances. Wala na yong PDF.

    Ang incentives sa kanila ay kung makagawa sila ng isang batas (approved by both House and Senate and President), yong mga co-authors may bonus (or incentives then) din to be determined  by law. Kung walang nagawang batas, no incentives. No law, No incentives.

    At saka someone should question pork barrel’s legality and constitutionality sa Supreme Court.

    • sl1

      They are there for public service so no need for bonus or incentives, As a legislator they must only be given appropriate allowances in the performance of their duties but no pork barrel.

  • carlorocci

    “Magsaysay has complained that the pork barrel for her district has been withheld since the Aquino administration took over, and believes the move was political because she was an ally of former President Gloria Arroyo.” – Ito talaga dahilan kaya gusto ni Mitos ma-abolish ang PDAF. Campaign strategy pa rin, to gain votes…”But another candidate, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, a cousin of President Aquino, said he would want the pork barrel retained as it can be used for good endeavors.” -Kayo naman hindi pa nakakatikim si BAM-BAM ng pork ehhh, i-abolish na?

    Pati sa campaign strategy nagagamit ang PDAF (pork barrel), laki talaga pakinabang nga mga politikos dito sa baboy na ito….Hay naku…..Pilipinas kong mahal, kawawa naman….

  • tukmoldinako

    “It’s about time that congressmen and senators focus on their jobs as policymakers rather than as project implementors,” he said.
    this is a good recommendation but who among senators and congressmen will go in favor of this recommendation, most of them are corrupt.

    regarding dynasty law they will not pass this law showing their interest on money and not for the good of the country and people.

    as early as this time ,lets select our bets and replace all this senatongs and tongressman.

  • sl1

    Your advocacy is good but it will never materialize  coz senators and congressmen will never pass a law in this undertaking. This the source of easy money for them ,compare them before and after and we will find that most of them became rich. Most of our politician are really not for good public service but for their own personal gain 99% of them.

  • Janch

    ‘But another candidate, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, a cousin of President Aquino, said he would want the pork barrel retained as it can be used for good endeavors.’
    Hindi pa nga nahalal sa gobyerno, trapong-trapo na ang dating.

    • bagombong

      ” Used for good endeavors” palagi naman ang sinasabi nila, pero sa bulsa pa rin nila ang kikita ng mas malaki, alisin at hindi na sa congressman at senator ibibigay…dapat ipamahala yan sa COA…let them have all the projects and they will assigned  someone to inspect  if the said project is really needed and they are the one will managed any bidding that will done…so that there will be no corruption happened na sa daming dadaanan ng released ng pera para sa contructor ay puro lagay ang nangyayari sa bawat pipirma…noon pa iminungkahi ni Lacson ang pagtanggal yan pork barrel na yan pero ni isa sa kanila walang pumayag…that means na they really intend to make corrupt.

  • joel genese

    Sige nga. Masubukan nga kita kung kaya mo. 

  • Danny Jimenez

       Kung eto eh matuloy, cut my heart and my balls kung meron pang kakandidatong Senador o Congressmen sa ating bansa.

    Ang yayaman niyo pero ang daming mahihirap na Pinoy.

    Ginagawa nilang career ang congreso.

    Ang problem,kahit ma elek ka at mag file ka,HINDI APPRUBAHAN ng
    SENADO AND CONGRESO yan not unless lahat ng miyembro eh si Panfilo and

  • JohnDoeGB

    Dapat nating supportahan ang hangarin na ito. Ang pork barrel o PDAF ang isa sa mga ugat ng pahirap at corruption. Tama lahat ang mga justifications ni JC. Hindi na dapat pang ipagkatiwala sa mga congressman at senators ang millions ng taum-bayan. Kaya may mga proyekto na hindi natatapos o lumalago dahil ang isang project na tinustusan ni Congressman A ay maaaring hindi priority ni Congressman B na syang pumalit kay Congressman A. Sayang lang ang nagastos na pera sa projects na ganun. May mga government agencies tayo na syang nagsusulong ng mga projects para sa mga Pilipino. Sila na dapat ang mabigyan ng mga millions na iyon.

    Kung wala ang pork barrel o PDAF dito na natin makikita na umaangat ang mga taong tunay na leader. Ang mga tunay na leader ay siyang sinusunod at sinusuportahan ng marami dahil sa galing nya hindi dahil sa galante syang mamigay ng pera. At tayo naman, maiboboto na natin ang taong angkop at effective bilang isang congressman o senador dahil sa kanyang galing sa paggawa ng batas, hindi dahil makapagbigay sya ng pera at projects sa districts natin.

    Tanggalin na ang PDAF! Kung walang PDAF, walang corrupt (o mababawasan na ang pagkacorrupt).

  • bagombong

    what we need is to replaced the whole peoples in the government para mai-ayoy ang mga batas na dapat ay magawa..”anti dynasty, removal of pork barrel ” this should be the priorities of this Pres. we have including bringing back the old system to become a policeman…to become a candidate in becoming a police officer, you should be at least 2nd year in college.

    • Bert

      Not just anti dynasty bill, the removal of pork barrel that should be made priorities of this Pres but also the FOI BILL, if indeed he is sincere about transparency and good governance..

  • Bert

    Reyes is one candidate that I will surely vote. But BAM Aquino, another member of PHILIPPINE POLITICAL DYNASTY, NO WAY!!!!

  • sean

    Nanawagan po ako sa COMELEC na isama na sa listahan ang PORK BARREL  o PDAF na yan sa darating na election para magkaalaman na kung ano ang gusto ng mga tao. Kung hintayin pa natin sa plenaryo yan, sigurado di lulusot ang pagtanggal ng PORK BARREL o PDAF kasi mabubutas na yung mga BULSA nila. DAPAT NA PALITAN yan mga LUMANG APELYIDO ng mga SENADOR at CONGRESSMAN. dun na tayo sa BAGONG APELYIDO kasi marami pa alam para sa bayan at hindi nakaw lang ang alam dahil takot pa at naninibago pa. VOTE WISELY lang po… at wag magpadala sa pera mga kabayan!!!

  • Ed Molina

    maniniwala pa siguro ako dito kay jc de los reyes when he said that pork should be scrapped.

    pero dito kay mitos? bilib talaga ako sa tigas ng pagmumukha nitong fake magsaysay na ito. “The job of the legislative branch is to make laws” daw. but just some months back, ngawa ng ngawa ito dahil bakit wala pa daw yung pork barrel niya. kawawa naman daw yung mga scholar niya.

    ang tindi! she can easily look into your eyes and lie through her teeth. kaya naman pala kinuha ng UNA.

    • generalproblem

      skolar nya pero pera ng gobyermo ang ginagamit nya hahahaha. walanghiya ano sya ng sikat tayo kawawa

  • lheckie

    sana si juana change or si carlos celdran ay gumawa nang waiver ng mga senatorial candidates that they would never use their future pork barrels and they would make laws abolishing this practice. gawin to bago mag-election at ilabas sa national tv kung sino sino ang mga pumayag na mawalan nang pork. or better make it a Political party move.

    tama si mr. delos reyes, senators should create laws beneficial to all filipinos and not implement projects for personal gain. even if it would benefit their constituents, its still a form of epal. that pork belongs to us. kung walang pork, baka pwede na ring walang vat.

    i really admire your advocacy at sana hindi lang sa papogi ito pero truly coming from a new breed of FILIPINO STATESMAN. Philippines really needs the like of Jovito Salonga, Arellano, Benigno Aquino Jr. etc. to restore the Senate to its former glory. Not backfighting pa-pogi senators that we have now. Ah, those were the days. When senators were called GENTLEMEN first rather than a partisan number player. When Senate was a venue where the heart and soul of every Filipino is heard and not a house of selfish politicians. 

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos