Aquino hijacked PCSO’s and other GOCCs’ profits

19

Either this administration thinks we’re all stupid, or it is dopey in interpreting the laws of the land. It may be so stupid as to announce even its illegal actions.

Advertisements

President Aquino and his mouthpieces have been saying in the past days the funds for his “Disbursement Acceleration Program”—which totaled P142 billion for 2011 and 2012, with an additional allocation of P15 billion this year—had come from government entities’ “savings.”

They claim that since the funds came from “savings,” therefore the administration is justified to use it in any way it pleases, since the Administrative Code of 1987 authorizes the president to “realign” such leftover funds.

This interpretation itself is disputed by constitutional experts Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Fr. Joaquin Bernas, who claim that what the Code means is that the President can realign—a word that obviously isn’t synonymous with “transfer”—savings only within the particular department or agency which generates such kind of funds. This after all has been the interpretation of all the past four presidents, even Cory Aquino who proposed the Administrative Code.

But even Aquino’s argument involving “savings” falls flat on its face.

A digitally manipulated depiction of Budget Secretary Abad that’s getting viral in Philippine cyberspace.

A digitally manipulated depiction of Budget Secretary Abad that’s getting viral in Philippine cyberspace.

In this administration’s press release dated October 12, 2011 (still posted at www.gov.ph), one major source of funding for the DAP was “the 2010 unprogrammed fund, to be supported by windfall dividends from Government Owned and Controlled Corporations or GOCCs, (P12.34 billion).” The explanation was repeated in its more recent posting at its website entitled “Q and A on the Disbursement Acceleration Plan.”

In short, Aquino hijacked the P12.3 billion in profits that government-owned and controlled corporations had turned over to the Treasury. That was just for 2011 though, and still unreported are the amounts for 2012 and 2013.

These were from such GOCCs as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Land Bank.

This is so patently illegal. Under the Administrative Code and the GOCCs’ charters, and emphasized by Republic Act No. 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, these firms’ profits remitted to its principal shareholder—the State—form part of the General Fund, or the nation’s kitty. No wonder then that Aquino through his finance secretary Cesar Purisima since mid-2011 had been pressuring the GOCCs to remit as much profits as they could to the Treasury, even to the point of cutting down their expenses and operations.

But each centavo and peso of the General Fund has to be authorized by law, which is done by Congress when it enacts the annual appropriation laws. The President even has a crucial say in these laws as it is his budget department that prepares the bill, which he signs into law after the Senate and the House of Representatives approve it.

The only two major exceptions in which GOCCs’ profits are earmarked for some purpose are those of the PCSO and the Pagcor, some of which are authorized by specific laws to certain, mainly charity, funds and, for the latter, among others, for the President’s discretionary President’s Social Fund. (A third exception, though hotly debated now involve dividends from the Malamapaya gas operations, which according to one interpretation can be allocated not only for energy-related projects but for those authorized by the President based on a Marcos-era Presidential Decree.)

There is however no law authorizing the President to allocate GOCCs’ profits to the DAP.

But that was just one of the ways Aquino violated the law.

Aquino and his officials have been claiming that the President is authorized to “realign savings’, which it did to create the fund for the DAP. However, most of the funds were not really from “savings” of government units.

Some of the funds under the budget laws of 2011 and 2012 were for personnel expenses such as bonuses and agencies’ additional staffing. Budget secretary Abad simply refused to release these funds, and declared them as “savings.”

More patently illegal was that a big part of the funds for DAP were the budgets authorized by the 2011 and 2012 appropriations law, but which Abad on his own cancelled, on the flimsy excuse that these were “slow-moving.”

A clear example of this was the P1 billion in the 2012 budget law to build the Tacloban International Airport. The budget department in the middle of the year however withdrew P718 million of this because, according to a letter of the transport and communication secretary Emilio Abaya, it was being devoted to the DAP. (It was killing two birds with one stone, as it was another warning—a see-what-we-can-do-to-you message—to Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, a leader of the opposition, who had been pushing for the airport .)

Aquino was clearly lying when he claimed that the savings were voluntary, saying, “It’s not that we forced savings out of them.”

Former senator Panfilo Lacson in a recent interview also disclosed how the so-called “savings” were illegally impounded. “All of a sudden in April or May, Abad issued a circular that by the end of June 2012 all unused funds (as authorized for the whole of 2012) for many departments would not be released anymore. These were declared as savings, and made part of the DAP funding.” This was a cheap trick on Abad’s part, since he was fully aware of the fact that government agencies’ disbursements are tied by such requirements as tedious bidding and other red tape that they could not just use their budgets in a few months.

And what kind of projects did Aquino decide would be so fast-moving that they would stimulate the economy? A few examples:

• P8.6 billion given to the regional government for projects of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which Aquino himself complained, in June 2012, were slow moving or were not even started yet. The ARMM government had so much money that as late as this year, its governor Hajiv Hataman was distributing checks for P10 million to the regions’ provincial governors.

• P1.8 billion for the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army and the Moro National Liberation Front ostensibly for the training in livelihood projects of their surrendering guerillas;

• P1.2 billion given to the interior and local government department, which couldn’t be used at the end of 2011, according to the COA, because the department didn’t even have a work plan on how to spend the money;

• P2 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for such projects as day-care centers and its endless “supplementary feeding projects’; and,

• P13 billion–nine (9) percent of the P142 billion DAP funds released in 2011 and 2012—according to the “Q and A” post—in additional pork barrel for members of Congress, on top of their P24 billion “Priority Development Assistance Fund” under the appropriations law for that year.

And Lacierda has been insisting that media hasn’t been focusing on the DAP’s uses and not on its source of funding?

We have a president patently violating the law, not just any law but one of the most important laws of the land, the Appropriations Act, which represents the will of the nation—represented by the Congress—on how the government should spend the taxes we pay that is the main expression of our citizenship.

This is the very first time in our Republic that a President has ignored Congress and created his own budget.

Aquino even tried to keep his DAP secret. Senators—who are the most involved in scrutinizing the budget—are saying now that they had not heard of that DAP before. How could P72 billion in funds in 2011 and another P70 billion not even be mentioned or explained in Aquino’s annual budget messages for those years?

Either this president is so obtuse that he still argues that he is authorized to hijack funds to be used as he pleases, or in his hubris he thinks he could ride roughshod over Congress and the nation.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

19 Comments

  1. Right on the spot… Pwersahang kinuha ang mga budget sa personnel, operations and development ng naia kaya stagnant ito.. Ito ang tunay na reason bkt worst airport na naman ito. Even the telephones at naia are not working anymore. Salot itong administrasyong ito!

  2. Instead of these blah! blah! blah! Why don’t you guys impeach the president and go to the streets…. Where were you during the past administration??? The only way to solve this problems, don’t participate in any electoral process, to show your distrust to all politicians in the Phils. Absolutely boycott!!! Those being accused for misuse of PDAF, I bet you!! will be the next vice president or president of the Phils.

  3. The devil of darkness always play tricks to appease people. Just like talking about the straight forward path leading toward zigzag road.

  4. brandogandanghari on

    3 YEARS HAD PASSED, YET I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY BIG PROJECTS OF THIS YELLOW ADMINISTRATION. UNLIKE DURING PRESIDENT MARCOS TIME, WHOM FEW EASILY BETRAYED FILIPINOS CONSIDERS AS CORRUPT HAD BUILT BIG PROJECTS, BIGGER HAN THE WORLD STANDARDS, LIKE THE MAGAT DAM – THE BIGGEST IN ASIA AT MARCOS TIMES, LRT – THE FIRST LRT IN ASIA, NLEX AND SLEX, BATAAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT, MAHARLIKA HIWAY, THE CCP COMPLEX, THE RECLAMAITION OF MANILAY BAY, THE CREATION OF PRoFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION AND pag-asa. WE NEED A MARCOS IN 2016 PRESIDENT.

  5. Penoy will do whatever it takes just to protect the 1987-Cory Constitution w/c is flawed & has been plauing our country for 27 years.

    • And Penoy is trying to show the whole world that this flawed 1987-Cory Constitution is the symbol of the Aquino dominance in our country as if they’re also trying to show that they own the Philippines.

  6. As these corrupt politicians look out of their golden windows in their ivory towers illegally gained by blantantly stealing the people’s money. Do they have an ounce of dignity or conscious as the watch their starving people who have no medical help walk around in knee deep in filthy water on the Philippine soil they pay taxes for.

    It is amazing how the justify their own selfish worth by all these pork barrelling kick backs. Can’t they see the poverty, suffering and poor health of their people. They send them off to work to pay taxes towards their super rich lifestyle on poor roads, flooded work places and disease inffected water. All the promises to build a better Phillipines goes into to their criminal pockets as ‘realign savings’ What a Joke politicians in the Philippines are.

  7. Well, what is new ? a bunch of Aquino’s critics. Wake up and open your eyes people. You all can gripe, bad mouth and say all the bad things about P-Noy but the fact is, his administration in terms of what he has to his country is much better than his two predecessors.

    • jeric buencamino on

      much better? in which way? how? blind? much better thief if that’s what you mean then i would agree… 1 peso, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions… what’s the difference? if it’s unconstitutional then there’s NO difference.. people should know that only congress has the power to allocate budgets… see USA? government shutdown a month ago because their congress and senate were not able to come up with an agreement… it’s not for the president to do budgeting… we are being betrayed here…by your insecure, non-performing, non-achiever, a-lame-excuse, yellow president.. the truth hurts but like surgery it should help cure your blinded mind

  8. Emille Haggerty on

    I agree with you on this. But the most striking part of this is how used the DAP to fund rebels. That’s treason already. He can be impeached for three reasons already (Plunder, Betrayal of Public Trust and Treason).

  9. people thought pnoy was the answer to their dreams, well he isnt, he is a start but there is a long road ahead & at every turn the powers that be dont want it to change as how else can they get rich. If they have to work what will they do if they dont have a government friend to give well call it free handouts. They would make a living in the real world but nothing like the money they get from being in power. I dread to think who will lead the country next & will that person continue with getting rid of all the corrupt waste in this country, its a mountain higher than mt everest. The people want it & deserve it & what they should do is if governments dont do what they need to reform it is jail them for life.Dont allow any of them to keep this corruption going in any form. Dont be swayed by their smiles & words saying they believe in god & god told them to be a servant of the people as its total B. S. They all know what they are doing when they steal even a single centavo from the people but they try to make it leagal stealing, like with benefits & control of any monies at all. Watch them closely

  10. Primer Pagunuran on

    The concept of ‘executive department’ writ large may well subsume all other lower agencies under it. Thus whatever funds flow around it may well count as aggregate savings of that department as a whole. Therefore, there is reason to argue that perhaps, it can still be called the department’s savings for that year.

    But those against this can choose to be literal about the law, too technical about it and therefore would equate savings as only territorial to the one having generated it and for us only within that territory as such. In short, there cannot be any kind of ‘transfer of funds’. But funds are essentially not about where they should be impounded as if it were but on how accountability takes place in the matter of spending these resources borne out of taxpayers’ money.

    Tales or no tales, but the whole business of budgeting and management cannot be one governed too rigidly by laws that are, in the face of realities, inutile and retardant to growth and development.

    Let us give this administration a chance. After all, it is doing best what might look as an innovative approach but not necessarily immoral. It may be illegal but moral. That is if we can connect the dots in the way we should.

  11. These massive and rampant corruption in the Philippines have been going on because most of supposedly vanguard of good governance –the media, the religious sect and government agencies– are “deep capture” to the TRAPOs and king makers. Compounded by tolerant and mostly starstruck populace. The BIR, BoC, Judiciary, Congress and the Executive branches of the government must be overhauled to cleanse its rotten and corrupt beaureucracy. The big question is how. Nakatatak sa ating lugar “ladrones islands.”

  12. This government is worse that the “Martial Law” government of Marcos. I support Justice Puno’s to convene the “People’s Initiative to get rid of the Pork barrel”. Educational, Moral, and Mental qualifications should be a prerequisite to candidates for President, Vice President and Senators.

    • not only those qualification you’ve said is enough. may I also add experience in good governance and volunteerism

  13. A resignation would only open up the succession provided in the Constitution where the next in line only guarantees more of the same as these crown princes are equally involved in varying degrees in PDAF and DAF scandals. It is time to stand down the government of all occupying elective and appointive positions including the institutions that made fraud and cheating possible. Let us have a Snap Election with a rider on qualifications that will disqualify anyone with a consanguinity relationship to the 3rd degree of the removed official. As so much discretionary powers are left to the wisdom and prerogatives of the heads of offices and agencies, these too much be removed and replaced with vetted new powers and prerogatives that are transparent and equivocal especially as regards the allocation and management of financial resources with such openness that any citizen can raise issues on how different spending programs and projects are prosecuted. About time, tenure of elective positions is limited to just one term and all appointive positions shall be co-terminus with the appointing powers unless the mandate of the constitutional offices or agencies says otherwise. The other option is for the AFP to exercise its moral obligation under Constitution to be a real protector of the State and the people and start chopping heads off ASAP. Sammy’63.

  14. Pres Aquino is likened to Pres Obama who does not like debt celing because he wanted to disburse funds as he pleases hence a government shutdown. Pres Aquino juggle funds, nangu-ngupit at ibibigay sa gustong bigyan o mga ka-alyado, most of our legislators are blindfolded with PDAF funds. It is really more FUN -DS in the Philippines.

  15. Basing on the facts of this article, PNoy and Abad had been not only hijacking the money of the Filipino but manipulating it so they can hijack as much as they want so they can keep on bribing legislators and using some of the people’s money to finance projects which is self-serving to PNoy and his allies. And still the yellow media is saying this President-child is not CORRUPT? When will the public rise up and give these thieves and manipulators the boot?