Lacson to hale Palace to SC over pork
Former Senator Panfilo Lacson will head for the Supreme Court next week with “enough” evidence to show that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that the high court had declared unconstitutional last year were “alive and kicking” in the 2015 national budget.
According to Lacson, his evidence include documents showing that a number of congressmen had identified “pork” projects in this year’s budget.
Malacañang said it would wait for Lacson to file the petition. It said a careful reading of the budget would prove the inaccuracy of Lacson’s allegation.
“We have gathered enough evidence to show proof that Budget Circular No. 541 that gave birth to DAP has been resurrected. We also have sufficient evidence that the PDAF has been resurrected in the national budget, at least in 2015,” Lacson told the Club Filipino breakfast forum.
Lacson earlier disclosed that a team he had engaged to review the 2015 budget discovered lump sum appropriations, or discretionary funds, amounting to P420 billion tucked into the budget of 11 major line agencies.
The discovery of these lump sum funds showed an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling last year which declared the PDAF, or the congressional pork barrel, unconstitutional, he told the forum yesterday.
Lacson, who had rejected the use of pork barrel funds as a senator and continues to campaign against it, said his team will file a petition for prohibition before the high court to stop the implementation of certain provisions in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2015.
“We have evidence, we have photographs, we have the documents to show that indeed PDAF is very much alive and kicking,” he said.
He said “newfound” evidence showing that certain congressmen had identified pork projects would form part of the evidence.
But the team has yet to find anything involving the senators, he said.
He said he would identify the House members concerned in the petition to be filed with the high court, “because the documents will name them without us intending to identify them.”
Lacson did not give the number of congressmen involved and could not remember the amount involved.
“It’s very clear that these are projects of the legislators there in the GAA,” Lacson said.
Legislators, Lacson said, “have no business identifying projects because their role in the budget is just to deliberate and introduce amendments as well as serve as oversight.”
“But if they involve themselves in the identification of projects for their districts or pet projects, then what do you call that?” he said.
Aside from the PDAF, Lacson said the 2015 budget reincarnated Budget Circular No. 541 which earlier gave the Department of Budget and Management the authority to pool and declare as savings unobligated, unutilized and unreleased appropriations, not at the end of the fiscal year but in the second quarter. He said this can be found in Sections 70 and 73 of the GAA of 2015.
The high court had declared unconstitutional some parts of the DAP, which critics said was President Aquino’s pork barrel.
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