MANILA, Philippines – The President has scrapped the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen amidst the clamor of the people for its abolition.
The PDAF, derisively called the pork barrel, has been the source of corruption of some legislators who used it to line their pockets.
The P10-billion pork barrel scam exposed by the Inquirer, and confirmed by the audit report of the Commission on Audit, has so infuriated the people that they have called for its abolition.
President Aquino’s statement that the Filipino people are his “boss” is not empty rhetoric after all.
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From now on, all funds requested by congressmen and senators for their pet projects will come from the line budget.
This means the funds will be appropriated during deliberations for the national budget by Congress and given to the President for disposal.
For example, a congressman who wants school repairs in his district will have to ask the President for the funds.
The President, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), gives the legislator the money from the appropriation for that specific project.
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The situation now gives the President more access to the power of the purse.
An abusive president would have more leverage over senators and House legislators since he holds their pork barrel.
An abusive and corrupt president can also play favorites in dispensing the pork barrel.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was generous to both friendly and opposition legislators with their pork barrel and her pork barrel, as well, especially when there was an impending impeachment against her.
But Aquino is so much different from Arroyo, according to a Palace official, so the power of the purse will not be abused.
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Norio Ohara, the Japanese woman whose kidnapping by some members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was exposed by this columnist two years ago, is a virtual prisoner.
She was placed under the Witness Protection Program, upon the request of this columnist, even if charges have yet to be filed against her alleged kidnappers.
Ohara, a multimillionaire, is not allowed to go to the mall and eat in Japanese restaurants, her favorite pastime when she was still “free,” because she would be exposing herself to people who would want her dead.
Ohara came to the country as an unregistered alien—she has no record at the Bureau of Immigration—to escape from a stepmother who reportedly hired goons to kill her over an inheritance quarrel following her father’s death.
I found out the reason for her escaping to the Philippines from a Japanese journalist who squelched reports that the dreaded Yakuza, Japan’s version of the Mafia, was after her.
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Although NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula was dismissed as a result of Ohara’s kidnapping, his coaccused, Mario Garcia, is still working at the NBI.
Poor Norio Ohara! She’s a victim of Philippine-style justice.