Latest Stories

Aquino could depend more on foes than allies in scrapping ‘pork’


President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – In a strange twist, President Benigno Aquino III could depend more on opposition senators to deliver on his major policy reform: the deletion of the pork barrel from the 2014 national budget.

Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and his five colleagues in the minority are showing the way for the total scrapping of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) from the P2.268 trillion budget.

On the other hand, the majority led by Senate President Franklin Drilon who vowed to lead its abolition appears to be divided on the matter. Some have expressed preference for its realignment.

In last Wednesday’s caucus, Enrile unequivocally declared that the PDAF should be totally excised from the 2014 budget, and his five colleagues in the minority agreed with him.

“In the caucus last Wednesday, Senator Enrile manifested that all the pork barrel funds of the Senate should be removed from the 2014 budget,’’ Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said Sunday in a radio interview.

Estrada said he and the rest of the minority senators agreed with the minority leader’s position.

Enrile, who is facing a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman together with Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. over the pork barrel scam, has indicated as much in his interview with the press.

“Yes, it’s total [abolition]. Nothing will be left,’’ he told reporters before the caucus.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III had early on vowed to vote for total scrapping regardless of the final decision in the chamber.

To totally insulate the senators from any perception of fund misuse, neophyte Sen. Nancy Binay said she favored total abolition.  Another neophyte Sen. JV Ejercito and Gregorio Honasan III said they would heed public clamor for abolition.

Except for the neophytes, some of the senators have been implicated in the pork barrel scandal that has roiled Congress for months now.

In the face of public outrage over the large-scale misuse of pork barrel, the President in late August announced the abolition of the PDAF from the 2014 budget, requesting Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to devise a mechanism to do this.

Budget officials, however, admitted that the PDAF item could be deleted, but not the appropriation for it. If at all, total abolition could only take place in the 2015 budget.

The senators have at least two choices: totally delete their PDAF of P200 million each, or realign it to agencies, as their counterparts in the House of Representatives have done.

The House last Tuesday approved on final reading the proposed 2014 budget, realigning some P25.2 billion-PDAF to six agencies.

House representatives, however, retained the power to propose infrastructure projects early in the budgeting process so they could be included in the line item budgeting.

Before the budget measure is transmitted to the Senate, Sen. Francis Escudero filed a resolution for the PDAF to be deleted and deducted from the National Expenditure Program for 2014.

Drilon followed suit last week by filing a resolution totally scrapping PDAF from the budget without realigning it. If all senators agree to this, some P4.8 billion would be deducted from the NEP, reducing the deficit.

So far, only a few administration senators have come out openly in support of this.

“I’m for total abolition, which means it will be deleted and deducted from the total budget. This will in turn make our yearly deficit less,’’ Sen. Paulo Benigno Aquino IV, the President’s cousin, said in a text message.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said abolition should be done by both chambers. He also favored realigning the PDAF to an agency, and allowing the lawmaker to identify projects on the condition this would be approved by the chamber.

The administration senators’ differences of opinion cropped up in last Wednesday’s caucus.

Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, for instance, proposed that instead of being totally scrapped, the PDAF should be channeled to the calamity fund.

Other senators proposed the realignment of the PDAF to the military and government agencies, Estrada said.

“We just kept quiet,’’ Estrada said.

On Sunday, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he intended to realign his PDAF to scholarships and medical assistance to indigent patients.

All the senators are expected to submit their individual stand on the disposition of their PDAF on Nov. 11 so these would be incorporated into the finance committee’s report on the 2014 budget.

Relates stories

Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s privilege speech on the pork barrel controversy

Janet Napoles takes the floor at Inquirer

Drilon decides to sign Napoles subpoena

Groups at EDSA Tayo continue Million People March petition signing

DOJ files case at Ombudsman

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: Aquino , Juan Ponce Enrile , Nation , News , PDAF , Pork barrel , Senate

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. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  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


  • Camilla’s brother dies of NYC head injury
  • Nepal officials go to Everest to try to end crisis
  • Escudero ready to defend self should name appear in Napoles’ list
  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute
  • Russia not abiding by agreement on Ukraine—Obama
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

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

  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Marketplace