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Escudero sees no violation in senators’ P1.8 billion-fund realignment

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:02 PM January 09, 2014

Sen. Francis Escudero. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, ,Philippines – The  P1.8 billion that the nine senators had  realigned to calamity fund and various projects in the 2014 budget   was not considered  “pork”  as  defined by  the  Supreme  Court,  Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Thursday.

“The Supreme Court defined ‘pork’ to mean the power of a congressman or a senator to interfere or intervene after the budget is enacted,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance,  said  in an interview with  Radio Inquirer 990AM.

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“Pero yung pag-realign  ng pondo by way of an amendment, pagbago ng special provision ng budget by way of an amendment, hindi yun paglabag sa decision ng Korte Suprema and certainly that does not make it pork,” he said.

(But the realignment of budget by way of an amendment,  an amendment of a special provision of the budget, is not a violation of the  decision of the Supreme Court).

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Escudero clarified that the Supreme  Court, in declaring “pork”  unconstitutional,  prohibits  the lawmakers’ intervention in the implementation of   projects  after the  budget  was  approved  by  Congress.

The decision, he said, was based on the separation of powers between the legislative and the  executive .

“Ayon sa korte, iba ang kapangyarihan ng Kongreso sa kapangyarihan ng executive. Ang Kongreso ang dapat na nagpapasa ng batas, ang executive ang dapat nagpapatupad. So once napasa na daw ang batas, hindi pwedeng manghimasok o makialam ang mambabatas sa pagpapatupad ng batas,” he pointed out.

(According to the court, the power of Congress is separate from the power of the  executive. Congress   should pass laws, and the executive should implement it. So once the law is passed,  the lawmakers cannot intervene  or interfere in the implementation of the laws)

Escudero explained that when the proposed budget reaches the Senate, for example,  it can propose any amendments to the amount presented by  the President or the executive  department.

But once the budget  is approved by Congress and transmitted to the President for signature, then he said, the President or  the executive  can decide  which items it would fund  or not.

“Sa ilalim ng PD1177, may kapangyarihan ang Presidente na piliin ano-ano bang items ang popondohan nya at ano ba yung hindi.  The projected deficit for 2014 is P266 billion,” Escudero  further  explained.

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(Under PD 1177, the President has the power to choose what items to fund or not to fund. The projected deficit for 2014 is P266 billion).

Escudero was reacting to the  reported  P1.8 Priority Development Assistance  Fund (PDAF) also known  as “pork barrel” funds that the  nine senators  had realigned to various   projects. The 15 other senators   decided to deduct their  PDAF  from this  year’s budget.

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9 senators realign P1.8-billion pork

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TAGS: 2014 budget, Nation, News, Pork barrel
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