Latest Stories

Escudero wants PDAF reallocation in budget


Responding to the clamor for the abolition of pork barrel, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday suggested that Congress reallocate its P25.24-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the proposed P2.268-trillion budget for 2014 to specific items in government departments.

The proposal was one of three the Senate finance committee chair outlined in a radio interview. He said a second, and more radical, option would be to subtract the PDAF from the budget altogether, pointing out that Congress under the law “can take away but not add to Malacañang’s budget proposal.”

Escudero said a third action could be for Congress to heed the decades-old suggestion to observe line item budgeting, where all expenses using the PDAF, more popularly referred to as pork barrel, would be detailed or listed down to the last peso.

“Pork barrel is defined as a lump-sum allocation. But if we specify the items as part of reforms, what you see is what you get,” he said.

Senators and congressmen would still be allowed to identify projects where their PDAF would be used. This time, however, they would have to “defend and justify” these expenses, Escudero said.

“Members of Congress must be able to explain whether their PDAF would be used to construct roads. Would a road be made of asphalt? Or would the funds be used for a school building? A government hospital? In the case of soft projects, who would be the beneficiary and which areas would benefit?” he said.

“I have always said I favor abolition. I even filed a resolution to this effect,” he said. If the Senate approves the resolution, Escudero said the Senate version of the 2014 budget would either not carry the P25.2-billion PDAF at all or the amount would be redistributed.

“We cannot go back to the old practice of lump-sum appropriations for the PDAF,” he said. The minimum level of reform would be line item budgeting,” he said. Nongovernment organizations and government corporations would no longer be allowed to be used as conduits for pork barrel distribution, he said.

On Sunday, Sen. Cynthia Villar joined 15 senators who said they favored the PDAF scrapping. She said she supported the move “if it is the only way to ensure that the people’s money will not be wasted or stolen.”

The other senators who favor the move are Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Jose Victor Ejercito, Teofisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Vicente Sotto III and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez, who replaced her husband Danilo, the minority leader in the last Congress, defended the PDAF. “Yes, there are some abuses. But in general, the fund is a great help to many Filipinos,” she told the Inquirer on Saturday, pointing out that this had been the source of assistance to poor Filipinos “from birth to burial.”—With a report from Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

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: Congress , Francis Escudero , Pork barrel , Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) , reallocation

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
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  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. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace