Quantcast
Latest Stories

Aquino: It’s time to abolish pork barrel

By

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Friday yielded to public pressure and announced to scrap the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) ahead of Monday’s nationwide protest calling for the abolition of the graft-tainted pork barrel fund.

“Despite the reforms we have implemented, we have seen, as the events of the past weeks have shown, that greater change is necessary to fight against those who are determined to abuse the system,” Aquino said in Malacañang.

“It is time to abolish the PDAF.”

The remark was a turnaround from Aquino’s position Monday, saying the pork barrel fund had its “good uses” and should not be junked.

Collusion

Aquino at the same time vowed to prosecute those responsible for misusing the fund, which allows lawmakers to allocate government money for projects in their district.

He directed the Department of Justice and other agencies under the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council to investigate, prosecute and jail those who pocketed public funds and seize their ill-gotten wealth.

“What is wrong — indeed, what has outraged our people — was the collusion among a former president ready to trade favors just to remain in power, legislators, and members of the bureaucracy who were willing to conspire, enabled by a passive and indifferent citizenry,” Aquino said.

He was referring to his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been detained in a hospital on corruption and election sabotage charges.

The Commission on Audit said last week that over P6 billion allocated over a three-year period was released to questionable nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and ghost projects identified by lawmakers as beneficiaries.

Reforms

Aquino, who has made fighting against corruption a centerpiece of his administration, said there was nothing “intrinsically wrong” with the system but it has been abused by “a few greedy individuals.”

He promised to reform the corruption-plagued pork barrel fund.

“Despite the reforms we have implemented, we have seen, as the events of the past weeks have shown, that greater change is necessary to fight against those who are determined to abuse the system,” he said.

Aquino said state funds can no longer be disbursed to NGOs and government corporations linked in the alleged PDAF scam. State firms such as the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation and the National Agribusiness Corporation will be abolished, he added.

He said under the new system, legislators could still identify projects but they would need approval and would be closely scrutinized.

The new project menu will prohibit consumable soft programs such as fertilizers and medicine and temporary infrastructure projects in the form of dredging, desilting, regravelling or asphalt overlay.

Aquino also issued guidelines to safeguard public funds, including the publication of bids and awarding of projects.

Web of corruption

Critics say the system promotes corruption.

A series of exposés by the Philippine Daily Inquirer revealed a tangled web of corruption, with Janet Lim-Napoles as the alleged brains behind a P10-billion scheme that channeled funds over the past 10 years from the pork barrel and other state agencies into kickbacks of up to 60 percent using bogus nongovernment organizations.

As more reports and whistleblowers emerged to tell stories of large-scale misuse of PDAF over the years, the public uproar grew into a web-based movement campaigning for a “Million People March” on Monday, National Heroes Day.

From an initial plan to stage a peaceful rally in Luneta, the drive snowballed into a national campaign as enraged netizens agreed to hold similar protest actions in various convergence points across the country.

It also spilled over to Filipino communities abroad with groups in Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York planning simultaneous protests.

Ambivalence

Several lawmakers lauded the President’s announcement to scrap the pork barrel system.

But some groups calling for the abolition of PDAF expressed ambivalence, saying it could simply be a move by Aquino to appease the public ahead of Monday’s simultaneous protests.

They said the “Million People March” should push through to demand for the immediate prosecution of officials, under all administrations, involved in “pork barrel” fund anomalies. With a report from Associated Press

Originally posted at 12:40 p.m.

RELATED STORIES

OFWs in Hong Kong start chain of protest vs ‘pork barrel’

Calls to scrap ‘pork’ snowball in Senate

Names of ‘pork’ fund beneficiaries taken from list of board, bar passers–COA

The COA report: The blame game begins

74 solons exceeded PDAF by ‘hundreds of millions’


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benigno Aquino III , PDAF , Philippines , poltics , Pork barrel




Copyright © 2014, .
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
Advertisement
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Cardinal Tagle: Start new life with true peace
  • ‘Dry spell’ delayed, thanks to busted valve
  • At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  • Joy Belmonte defends council, waste-to-energy tech
  • House bill seeks special body to manage, protect Manila Bay
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement