Latest Stories

‘Pork’ ruling: Palace has mixed feelings


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is “in sync” with the Supreme Court’s decision removing presidential discretion over the Malampaya fund, according to Palace officials.

But President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, could not say the same with the landmark ruling declaring congressional pork barrel laws, then and now, as unconstitutional.

“We are in sync with the Supreme Court, in so far as the Malampaya Fund is concerned, considering that the President has not utilized the Malampaya Fund other than [for] energy and energy-related projects,” he said in a press briefing.

“We have no problem with the removal of that provision,” he added, referring to the provision in Presidential Decree No. 910 that Malampaya proceeds to be spent “for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President.”

But Lacierda was generally tight-lipped on the bigger decision on the pork barrel, saying the Palace has not seen a copy of the decision and that the next course of action would depend on the Office of the Solicitor General.

“We have to move forward,” he replied when asked by the Philippine Daily Inquirer if the Palace would at least “welcome” the high court’s decision on the pork barrel.

Under intense public pressure, President Aquino announced in August that it was time to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the latest reincarnation of the graft-ridden congressional pork barrel.

But the President, a former congressman, later sent mixed signals, defending the system of allowing lawmakers to identify projects funded by pork barrel.

Justifying what amounted to a “pork” component in his controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), he earlier argued that politicians were generally remembered on Election Day by “those that you have managed to help find work, those that you have educated, those that you have helped gain medical attention.”

“You’re a politician. You’d want to be reelected. Your work, therefore, has to devolve to constituency work,” he had said.

Taking Mr. Aquino’s cue, his allies at the House of Representatives later deleted PDAF in the 2014 budget, but realigned P25.4 billion to six agencies. A portion of this amount (P9.954 billion) was to be spent by the Department of Public Works and Highways for projects to be identified by lawmakers.

Lacierda rejected that idea that without the pork barrel, Aquino would lose his influence over legislators and might even be reduced to a “lame duck” President.

“It’s non sequitur,” he said. “That kind of reasoning is not a one-is-to-one correspondence.”

He added: “We believe that the Congress has the interest of the Filipinos in mind, and the priorities of this government will be supported by the House and Senate, because our concern is the concern of all Filipinos.”

On whether the Supreme Court decision against congressional pork barrel would eventually eliminate political patronage, Lacierda said: “Supreme Court decisions take time for [them] to become inculturated into the political atmosphere.”

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: 1987 Constitution , constitutional law , Edwin Lacierda , executive department , General Appropriations Act , government funds , House of Representatives , Malacañang , National Budget , News , Office of the President , Philippine Congress , Philippine Government , Pork barrel , Priority Development Assistance Funds , Senate , Supreme Court

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. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  2. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  3. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  4. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  5. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  8. Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  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


  • ‘I’ll make it,’ says young ferry passenger to family
  • Bad weather halts rescue after deadliest Everest disaster
  • Gigi Reyes has no other option but to turn state witness — Santiago
  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • 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

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • 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
  • Marketplace