2015 budget has ‘pork’ – Santiago

13
 Sen. Santiago

Sen. Santiago

The 2015 proposed national budget is not only pork-laden, it is also unconstitutional because it allows the President to transfer an appropriation from one agency to another anytime of the year, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago disclosed on Monday.

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In a privileged speech delivered before the plenary, Santiago said she received information that legislators will have control of P37.5 billion worth of projects allocated to five government agencies in the 2015 budget.

According to her, during the second half of 2014, legislators were asked to submit lists of projects they want to endorse for their districts. She said her source told her that the forms distributed to the members of the House of Representatives did not bear any letterhead.

“Why should anyone distribute a piece of paper and ask representatives of the [House of Representatives] to write down their projects? That’s the very essence of “pork barrelism,” Santiago noted.

In November last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel received by lawmakers every year is unconstitutional.

Santiago said the P37.5 billion was reportedly allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The DPWH got the biggest share with P18.369 billion for Land Infrastructure Program.

“It seems to be very much reminiscent of the old pork barrel practices and if that is the case then they are getting ready to institute the same pork barrel practices under the 2015 budget,” the senator said.

Santiago also questioned the new definition of the term “savings” in the 2015 budget for being “over-broad” and “vague.”

She also noted that under the over-breadth doctrine, if a statute is so broadly written that it deters free expression, it can be struck down on its face because of its chilling effect.
Under the new definition, the executive can declare savings anytime, Santiago said.

She explained that under the old definition, savings are unused funds either from discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized, while the new definition talks simply of discontinuance or abandonment at any time, which means it could be during the first month, first quarter or first half of the year.

“The old definition of savings was better. It allowed savings only after final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose. The new broader definition allows savings during discontinuance or abandonment at any time,” the senator said.

“What happens to the commitment to Congress of the agency head that the agency will deliver a specified level of outputs, such as number of school buildings, completion date, kilometers of roads, linear meters of bridges, and so on? What if certain projects that were funded out of ‘savings’ were later submitted for Congress-authorized but Department of Budget and Management (DBM)-discontinued projects? These are scenarios for corruption,” she pointed out.

To correct the “errors” in the 2015 proposed budget, Santiago recommended that Congress retain the original definition of savings. She said the current definition “demolishes and overturns not only the constitutional and legislated meaning of savings, it goes against the generally accepted meaning of the word itself.”

The senator also urged the Senate not to approve the budget unless the offensive redefinitions are removed.

Because of the importance and significance of the redefinition of savings, senators should explain their votes, she said.

“Those who will say “yes” in the Senate should also explain why they will shoot themselves, not only in the foot, but also in the heart. They have to explain why they will commit an act which is inimical to their own institution,” Santiago added.

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13 Comments

  1. Today’s news, Secretary Abad defended his stance about the savings which is similar to pork barrel. Being the leaders, they should talk this over before the media circus. Maybe Senator Mirriam is using his privilege speech to tarnished the budget 2015. Let’s wait and see for the outcome.

  2. >>> Ang anuman proposed government projects ay kailangan suriin at pag-isipan mabuti kung alin ang mas nararapat na gawin at ibilang sa mga prioriy projects BEFORE IT SHOULD INCLUDE IN THE BUDGET. Once it is included in the budget THAT MEANS IT IS IMPORTANT AND IT MUST BE PRIORITIES FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END AS PLANNED. In this way NO ONE OR NO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OR ADMINISTRATION -INCUMBENT OR SUCCEEDING GOVERNMENT REGIME SHOULD STOP IT, HOLD IT, DISCONTINUED IT OR ABANDONED IT.

    >>> Ang kadalasan nangyayari lahat ng on-going projects na sinimulan nd dating government ipahihinto at babaliwalain ng bagong administrasyon. At kung mayroon man nagawa o natapos sa panahon ng pagpasok o pag-upo ng bagong administrasyon….sasabihin ng bagong adiministrasyon…sa kanila project ito. pero pagmaypalpak hindi sa kanila ito, ito ay sa dating administrasyon. GANIYAN ANG MGA HIPOCRITES POLITICIANS.

    >>>TAMA LANG ANG LAHAT NA SINABI NI SENATOR MIRIAM. AND NAG-IISANG SENATOR SA SENADO.

  3. Miriam allegedly received information. Who passed this information. I think Miriam lacks business sense here and has not scrutinize the budget supposedly done during the budget hearing. In any programs and projects there will be integration of resources. For example when a project gets dissolved for justifiable reason and/or left unfinished. In this scenario the resources including funds gets transferred to another project or projects which require immediate attention. This is good business practice.

  4. Raymond Stenhouse on

    Will the 20 million filipinos living with no water electricity and sewage be apart of any of those projects.I doubt it. Only overseas houses from Pork Barrelling politicians will be brought before the 2016 election. What happened to the money for the Yolanda victims nothing seen yet. Are these politician people human at all. Letting their citizens die of ill health while they have their snouts in the trough.

  5. chthonic monster on

    it’s just another one of those “wherever there’s money around there will be crooks”! and politicians!

  6. james gutierrez on

    I am glad Sen. Santiago is bringing the budget to the attention of the people. At least someone is doing their job to make government accountable for the taxpayers money. Keep up the good job Sen. Santiago. We need people like you to scrutinized the government.

  7. Miriam keep up your efforts to bring the budget under control and eliminate the pork. We all appreciate your efforts.

  8. Sen. Miriam Santiago, please run for President, so you can save our country from further failure , we pray.

  9. Ok im a little lost here, how does she expect the country to be run. There has to be spending by the government, how should it be done. Im totally against corruption & i would let all corrupt officials rot in jail until they died if i had my way. But government has to run the country & that means spending money on different projects, so how can that be done here without it being called pork barrel. Im not slating anyone im asking a question, please someone answer.
    Salamat

    • Absolutely correct! Where was Miriam during the budget hearing? Why grandstanding now? Isn’t this a political showmanship? I like her guts but she’s a loose cannon!

  10. Salamat sa Diyos at narita pa si Senadora Santiago. Iyo pong speech niya a ito ay ang importanteng imortanting matagal nang ibinibida sa bayan ni Prof. Emeritus Leonor Magtolis Briones at ng kanilang smahang Social Watchj Philippines. Pero parang walang nakikinig sa kanila at sa Manila Times.
    Parnag ang gusto ng taong bayan ay maging kalokohjan na lang ang pagtakbo ng gobyerno at ng Kongreso.
    Ang mga Filipino ay lahat na halos naging mangmang at duwag laban sa diktdura ni Aquino, Abad, Purisima, Pursimang pulils, Drilon, Roxas, Belmonte at iba pang mga walang pag-ibig sa Inang Bayan.
    Magunaw na sana ang mga utak at katawan ng mga suwail sa Diyos at Inang Bayan na mga iyan.