• Church lauds ‘wise’ ruling by High Court

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    CATHOLIC church officials on Wednesday lauded the Supreme Court (SC) for its “wise, timely decision” in declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as unconstitutional.

    Malolos Bishop Jose Olivares said that the people “were right” in questioning the constitutionality of the pork barrel. He noted that the SC confirmed the common notion that PDAF is only “political patronage and influence peddling.”

    “It stops the executive [from]corrupting the legislative. It’s a well-known secret that the executive used [the]PDAF to sway the congressional vote on Reproductive Health (RH) bill,” he said.

    Msgr. Joselito Asis, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the SC ruling was a “positive development” and showed the tribunal’s independence.

    However he asked the people to be vigilant about the “next plan of the legislators.”

    Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles noted that the “PDAF by whatever name will be unconstitutional and an obvious disservice to the Filipino people.”

    Despite the High Court ruling, Senate President Franklin Drilon filed a bill converting the unused 2013 PDAF funds into a supplemental budget to be used for the repair and rehabilitation of public infrastructures damaged by typhoon Yolanda.

    In filing Senate Bill 1938, Drilon said he wants to authorize the executive department to use the said allocation to fund the needed repairs of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals damaged by the series of disasters that hit the country.

    “The damage caused by recent calamities requires intensified efforts for rehabilitation,
    repair and construction of severely damaged infrastructure, buildings and facilities in order to accelerate recovery. Our people urgently need the augmented support of the government for rehabilitation,” he pointed out.

    Under his proposal, P2.75 billion and P1.25 billion will go to the Department of Education (DepEd) and state universities and colleges, respectively, for the repair and rehabilitation of school and academic buildings.

    Another P3 billion will go to the Department of Public Works and Highways and another P1.5 billion for the restoration of damaged historical sites.

    The supplemental budget will also cover the repairs of hospitals as well as the purchase of hospital equipment.

    Drilon insisted that it is necessary for Congress to expedite the passage of the bill since the appropriation will expire on December 31.

    Because of the SC ruling, the House minority bloc urged Congress to review the House-approved 2014 national budget.

    House Minority leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora pushed for the recall of the 2014 General Appropriations Bill or House Bill 2630 so that the House can if the budget is free from insertions and items personally determined by lawmakers.

    Zamora said that while the review and proposal can be done in the bicameral committee meeting in December, lawmakers have little time to scrutinize the appropriations bill.

    Recalling a major legislation such as the General Appropriations bill has never happened in the history of Congress. However, the minority lawmakers maintained that the rules of the chamber allow it.

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    5 Comments

    1. wilmer andrada on

      Now that PDAF is rendered unconstitutional by the SC,the next consideration is also to cut or regulate the DAP.It is about time that the Philippines move to a new system of governance where presently graft and corruption is the norm rather than the exception, where political patronage and manipulation of public funds into their own pockets and couffers are their main goal and philisophy rather than the common good of the country and her citizen.
      We need to start focusing on Big and Necessary National Projects and Agenda like a Universal Healthcare System, A National Student Assistance Program,A Marshall Plan or a Blue Print for the Philippine’s Infrastructure from Batanes Island to Jolo for the next ten years,A national project to create government run settlements not only for the displaced victims of disasters but also the homeless, jobless and hopeless destitutes in our slum areas.
      We need to establish a national cooperative system for our poor farmers,we need to help our small fishermen compete with other big time operators. We need Waste Management and a priority to Sanitation. We need to overhaul our Corrupt System of Bureaucracy in order to attract International Corporation to set up Business in the Philippines .We need to establish Free Trade Agreement with EU,USA, Canada and every single country in the Industrialized World.
      We need to finance the National Bureau Of Investigation to Expand its role on Catching Crooks not only in Government Sectors but for all others who disobey the Law.

    2. to the phil bishops,kindly explain your side kung totoo na alam nyo na galing sa masama ang mga pinanggalingan ng inyong mga pajero,ganun din kung yung mga pera o gamit na ibinigay ni janet napoles ay alam nyong gamit sa pdaf.dapat i publish nyo ang inyong side para malaman ng mga tao para hindi naman nila kayo pagbintangan.

    3. Yes. But, Church must also admit that she enjoys as beneficiary of the PDAF and to prove that it partakes dirty tricks made by the previous and present executive of the country. Remember the PAJERO Bishops?? Tell all the truth now while it’s not too late. You are just using RH Bill as you scape goat, yet, you even telling pretty lies to the people. Amennn…

    4. Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

      What can you expect with Drillon, he is the same Lolong Boyba and a straw na walang ginawa kundi manipsip mula pa nuon panahon ni Marcos, Cory, Ramos, Estrada, GMA and now Pnoy. He is the third long running Senate President next to Pres. Quezon and Amang Rodriguez. The reason is he is a natural STRAW- ALAM KUNG SAAN, KELAN AT KANINO SISIPSIP.

    5. Indeed the SC deserves praise for thumbing down the PDAF as well as the DAP which is a worse animal than the PDAF. However this is not a complete victory for the people. These thieves sitting in the Upper and Lower House will continue to circumvent the laws of the land and look for ways and means to siphon whatever money they can muster from their positions into their pockets.