MANILA, Philippines –Malacañang on Monday announced that the Inter-Agency Graft Coordinating Council (IAGCC) would “investigate the misuse of the PDAF, prosecute those who have misused it and recover assets that have been wrongfully taken” after the discretionary fund is scrapped.
The IAGCC is composed of Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, according to the Malacañang official website (www. gov.ph).
President Aquino III announced last Friday that it was time to abolish PDAF due to its misuse and abuse.
“After the abolition, there will be a new process to make sure each district and sector gets a fair share of the budget for projects, while being more transparent and less prone to abuse,” Malacañang said.
Instead of the lump-sum PDAF under the old system, legislators will now propose specific projects for their specific districts or sectors.
Under the new system, the proposed projects must follow a menu that is “stricter and leaner” than the old PDAF menu.
The proposed line-item budgets for specific projects will then be reviewed and deliberated upon and “must be approved” by the House of Representatives and the Senate as part of the General Appropriations Act.
“These approved line-item projects will be included under the budgets of the implementing agencies, for example road and bridge projects under the DPWH,” Malacañang explained on its website.
“Implementation and procurement of the projects will be stricter as these must be all processed through the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System,” it further said.
Malacañang cited at least five reasons why the old system of budgeting was prone to abuse – one of them was because a former president was “desperate to hold on to power.”
Another reason was that congressmen were allegedly “immersed in a culture of transactionalism.”
The other reasons: A bureaucracy was “coopted” and “coerced, “lack of transparency in the system,” and a “passive and disengaged citizenry.”