THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Sunday said it is possible that President Benigno Aquino 3rd will use the resources within his reach to convince lawmakers to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
According to Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, Aquino has the means to compel lawmakers to approve the BBL. He said theDdisbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC), has taken a different form.
The VACC was reacting to a recent statement issued by Malacanang that the executive will not revive the Priority Development Asistance Fund (PDAF) for lawmakers who will support the passage of the BBL.
PDAF, popularly known as pork barrel, was also declared illegal by the SC.
Malacañang said it is not the practice of the Aquino administration to dangle funds before lawmakers to push for a piece of legislation.
But Jimenez scoffed at the statement.
“How can you believe a discredited administration that always lies [in its]statements for self-preservation?” he said.
Jimenez added that given the current situation of Aquino, who is about to end his term, there is no doubt that he will use resources and funds to influence lawmakers into passing the BBL.
But he said he has faith in the lawmakers protecting the public from a law that is expected to bring “catastrophe” to the country.
“Aquino is a lame duck President and he will try to move heaven and earth just to have the BBL passed, in order to show that he has achieved something in his term,” Jimenez added.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ramon Casiple, a political analyst, in a separate interview said there are many ways available to the executive branch to help it convince lawmakers into giving the President what he wants.
He noted that the “patronage system” did not disappear
Casiple said there are still funds that Malacañang can offer to senators and congressmen and this time, there is no way to trace it because it is not specified in the budget. He mentioned the President’s social fund, special purpose funds and other funds that are also considered as the presidential “pork.”
He added that Aquino can give favors to or grant requests of lawmakers to appoint some of their friends to different government agencies.
“I’m not saying that the President will bribe lawmakers to pass the BBL, but the means are there,” Jimenez said.