PDAF, Malampaya fund use unconstitutional
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared as unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the use of Malampaya funds for other purposes other than energy-related projects.
Voting 14-0, the high court nullified “all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel laws, such as the previous PDAF and Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators-whether individually or collectively organized into committees—to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution.”
In the same ruling, the high tribunal also said provisions of the laws allowing the President to use the Malampaya fund for other purposes other than energy related projects as well as the provision which allows the Presidential Social Fund to be used for priority infrastructure development projects were unconstitutional.
The sufficient standard test mandates “adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from running riot”.
“The disbursement/release of the…Malampaya funds under the phrase ‘and for such other purposes as may hereafter be directed by the President pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910…are hereby enjoined,” the high court said.
“In similar regard, the Court also enjoins the release of funds sourced from the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase “to finance the priority infrastructure development projects”…Said funds covered by this permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead returned to the general coffers of the government, except for funds covered by the Malampaya funds and the Presidential Social Fund which shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes not otherwise declared unconstitutional,” the high court said.
The high court also nullified the laws that provided lawmakers lump-sum allocations to fund their chosen projects.
“All informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of discretion,” are also declared void.
“Accordingly the Court’s temporary injunction dated Sept. 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be permanent. Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF funds allocated for the year 2013, as well as for all previous years…are hereby enjoined,” the high court said.
The high court ordered the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate and file the needed cases against all government officials as well as private individuals involved in the improper disbursement of PDAF.
Among those who separately petitioned the court to scrap the PDAF system were losing senatorial candidates Samson Alcantara and Greco Belgica.
Petitioners pointed out that the system on discretionary funds of both Congress and Malacañang violated the constitutional limits given to the executive and the legislative because they were able to spend money beyond what was approved by Congress “since these are lump sum funds.”
On the other hand, the government through the Office of the Solicitor General said the high court has upheld the constitutionality of the PDAF system in previous cases, including LAMP vs. DBM.
Below is a copy of the Supreme Court ruling:
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.