Largest pork barrel ever: P21B in 2015


I find two things in our country getting more and more amazing: (1) the skill of this Administration in hiding its nefarious schemes; and (2) the gullibility of the media, and therefore the public, in believing such government lies.

Consider the pork-barrel issue that has engulfed our nation starting mid-2013. It resulted in a Supreme Court decision last November declaring it illegal. Based on allegations that they have pocketed pork-barrel funds, three senators have been arrested and jailed.

Last week, the Congress passed its most important legislation for the year, the 2015 budget of P2.6-trillion. It won an overwhelming 197 votes, against only 27 against it—naturally, as this column explains below.

There was hardly a protest against it – despite its huge pork-barrel allocation. President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his officials have been saying in the Goebbels-style of big-lie-repeated-again-and-again: There is no more pork barrel in the budget.

Next to his ‘we-are-fighting-graft’ canard, that is Mr. Aquino’s biggest deception right now.

In fact, the pork barrel in the 2015 budget is the biggest we’ve seen so far, at P21 billion. It was P16 billion for each of 2011 and 2012, and P20 billion in 2014. (The pork-barrel releases were drastically reduced to P10 billion in 2013 because of the Supreme Court’s order in September that year to stop such releases pending the case on its constitutionality.)

final graf for pork barrel

Different names for the same racket.

Imagine that: The high court, and the entire nation I would think, scolded Aquino and ordered him to stop having pork barrel in the budget. Yet, he has continued to do so, and even made it bigger.

Pork-barrel releases in the past four administrations had never gone beyond P10 billion per year. The huge amount of taxpayer’s money Aquino has been giving local congressmen explains why the Congress has been the most servile ever to a president.

The pork barrel in the 2015 budget certainly fits one of the Supreme Court’s definitions of it: “An appropriation of government spending meant for localized projects and secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district.” Its worst aspect has been the siphoning of its proceeds into congressmen’s pockets, through fictitious projects and NGOs. There are no systems in place preventing such type of graft for the 2015 pork barrel.

Through the pork-barrel fund in the 2015 budget, the country’s 1,629 municipalities and cities are allocated P12 to P15 million each. It’s a powerful carrot-and-stick scheme for ensuring district congressmen’s support for the Administration, since actual releases can be delayed for any reason Aquino may concoct if a particular House Representative doesn’t toe his line. A new provision in the 2015 even specifies that if the allocation isn’t used in the year, it will be reverted to the national treasury, and can be used only if authorized by another legislation.

Now you understand why 197 congressmen voted for the 2015 budget, don’t you?

Anybody who has lived in a municipality and watched the inner workings of a local government would know that there are endless ways for a local government chief executive to get a kickback from the projects in their jurisdiction funded by such pork barrel, which is why the fund is so important to local politicians’ power.

It’s a boon to sparsely populated provinces that have managed to be divided into several municipalities.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad even increased the pork barrel of his home province Batanes – which his wife represents in the House – to P75 million from the P58 million annual average the province received from 2011-2013. The P75 million was distributed at P12.5 million to each of Batanes’ six towns.

With the hundreds of millions of pesos of government funds Abad has channeled to his Lilliputian province, it is even running out of projects to be funded by the 2015 pork barrel, so the use of a P5.5 million fund for the town of Mahatao could only be listed as for a “project to be determined.”

Would you believe that this quiet, small island would get a pork-barrel fund amounting to P2.5 million for the establishment of a “bahay pag-asa for CICL?” What’s CICL? Children-in-conflict-with-the-law. For a tiny place with only 10,000 residents to have a lot of juvenile delinquents needing a haven, Batanes must be the country’s Babylon.

To be sure, Aquino has camouflaged his 2015 pork barrel, and made some revisions to it, so it would not seem to be an act of defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the pork-barrel fund is unconstitutional.

First, the 2015 pork barrel is now called the “Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Project List” (GPB). There is a section in each of the appropriations for 14 departments and entities specifying that a certain amount of their budget will be allocated to the GPB projects, listed in an annex. These departments are those that have always been conduits for pork barrel since 1986, the biggest of which are the departments of agriculture (P4 billion), interior and local government (P5.8 billion), social welfare and development (P2.7 billion), and the local government support fund (P2.8 billion).

Second, in order to go around the Supreme Court ruling that budget allocations cannot be “care of” the congressman who would direct its actual use, Aquino’s new pork merely distributed the amounts to each district under a congressman. In practice though, it is the congressman who will determine, based on his relationship with Malacanang, whether the funds are actually released or not.

And to go around the Court’s ruling that legislators can have no role in the implementation of the budget, Aquino’s new pork barrel specifies its particular use before the Appropriations Bill is enacted into law.

This is in practice just a bit more staff work for a congressman’s office, as he can very easily list a year in advance the projects he wants implemented in the district. For the most unscrupulous, these are the kinds of projects that can be undertaken by contractors with whom he is associated closely enough to turn over to him some kickbacks.

Thus, the list of more than 1,590 Priority Poverty Reduction Projects funded under the GPB is the same old list of projects funded by pork-barrel funds in the past several years such as “various road” projects, “post harvest facility,” and the ubiquitous “livelihood projects.” If these sound familiar, it is because these are the kinds of projects the infamous Janet Napoles allegedly used to siphon funds off into legislators’ projects.

It’s been the trademark of this Administration to cloak its immoral and unethical projects with noble intentions. Thus, the funds used to bribe senators to take out Chief Justice Renato Corona were raised through a “Disbursement Acceleration Program.”

The 2015 pork barrel is portrayed as the result of empowering the masses to determine the uses of the government budget, through the so-called Grassroots Participatory Budgeting. Under this scheme, civil society organizations in municipalities were supposed to determine the local projects financed by the P21-billion fund, not government officials.

C’mon guys, do you really want us to believe that municipalities from Batanes to Basilan now have such strong civil-society organizations so that it is no longer the local political bosses, no longer the congressmen, who determine the use of government funds at the local level? That’s just like telling us that Aquino is psychologically healthy. I can believe that’s what happening in Maguindanao towns if you classify the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a civil society organization.

Such a situation is only in the mind of Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, who spent most of her working life coordinating – never really organizing or leading – NGOs. In fact, it is Soliman who spun lies for the country to get a dubious award for its “Grassroots Budgeting” last September, which the Administration has been using to claim that there is no more pork-barrel next year.

I’ll discuss that on Wednesday.
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao


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  1. Same Rotten Tomatoes.
    Pork started in 1986 together with their so called democracy.
    I guess the main reason they kicked Marcos out was because they wanted the cash for the themselves.
    Pathetic thieves.

  2. Talagang wala tayong maaasahang pag-asenso ng ating bayan habang ang sistema ng gobierno natin at ang mga namumuno ay elected ng tao. Marami ng mga administrasyon ang nagdaan, pero lahat ay graft ridden. Ang kailangan ng ating bayan para tunay na umunlad ay magkaroon ng tinatawag na “spiritual government” na pamumunuan na ng mga taong halal ng Dakilang Maykapal–mga taong tapat at maglilingkod ng husto sa bayan at sa mga mamamayan, Highly incorruptible, with very strong spiritual characters, and without even an iota of self-interest. Ang mga taong ito ay hindi politico at hindi rin celebrity. They are low-profile, nameless people who whose dedication to serve God and country is profound and unmitigated.

  3. In this administration i see 2 things. first is how biased and selfish intentions becoming government policies. second, is how they use slogans to selectively expose opposition. They should remember there is an expiration to the power bestowed to them. Someday history will disgrace them!

  4. Sana dumating na rin ang panahon na hindi na lang tayo nagsasalita lamang dito…… habang tumatagal lalong maraming mawawalang pag-aari ng bansa. Lalong maghihirap pa ang ating bansang Pilipinas, at ang lalong maghihirap ay ang mga mahihirap na. Bakit kailangan pang patagalin ito?

  5. Not content with that hidden pork, the administration deliberately delayed the implementation of the Yolanda Rehab Plan towards the end of 2014 so that billions more can be added to the elections pork in 2015.

  6. Kung patuloy ang paglabag ng Aquino administration sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema patungkol sa Pork Barrel, dapat gumawa ng aksyon ang Armed Forces of the Philippines na syang PROTECTOR of the PEOPLE. Kung ang Rule of Law ay di na sinusunod sa ating bansa…dapat ang MILITAR ang magpatupad

  7. Do we have to wait till 2016 to get these corrupt government out? By that time they will have a hidden agenda. They will have so much money stolen that it really wouldn’t matter if they are kicked out, they will be laughing their way to the bank WAKE OF PHILIPPINES LESS WE BECOME A BASKET CASE, IF WE ARE NOT ALREADY!!

  8. Wth all the news reports coming out regarding B. Aquino I really fee very very sad. When He became a candidate for the presidency, I and my wife campaigned for him in one subdivision in Mactan, Cebu, we were able to convinced peoples to vote for him, saying he willed be a good president because he is a man who will be guided always with the teachings of his father and mother. Yes they voted him with the reasons we said, although in that subdivision they wanted Villar to be the president. Yes they voted for him.
    But we are saddened by reports becaused as president, he was always guided by nobody else but to deceived we Filipinos, that he is the best and he, and he alone can lead us to better life in his government. WE ARE FRUSTRATED!!!!

  9. Vicente Penetrante on

    As you said, for kickbacks and personal gains the majority of Congressmen becomes a “voice” of tyranny over the minority who makes more sense.
    Let us turn Aquino’s “deception” by diverting the news from Binay into a debate between Sen. A.P. Cayetano, “The Lecturer” versus J.V. Bautista, “The Gatecrusher.”
    Let that be a double attraction to the Binay-Trillanes Debate being promoted by KBP.
    That may help keep the people informed.

  10. This is very disappointing as well as disgusting! If these officials don’t have the guts to sacrifice a little bit of their needs for a greater good, then the politicians will be holding them by the neck and can prick them with a needle anytime. They become robots, items with bodies but no brains. They are nothing but walking sticks who happen to have the money because they know how to play with the powerful. Something has to be done. People should do something! These promised money for their territory will not go to the projects anyway, 50% or higher would go to the pockets of who knows who! We can never recover from this quagmire if nothing or no one rather from our officials have the guts, and clean conscience to fight for what is right.

  11. The Abads and the Aquinos already have too many crimes against the people!!! Someday, their crimes will catch up with them. There is indeed karma!!! Even the Bible says that “What you sow, you shall reap!!!”

  12. The largest pork barrel was GMA’s re-enacted budget. Three of her nine years in power had a re-enacted budget, and thats hard to top even by the standards of the greedy combine made up of BS, Abad, Drilon, Belmonte and last but not least, Binay.

    • I don’t know if you understand what are you’re talking about.
      Either you are ignorant or what ##?
      Try to research before you comment.
      GMA’s budget is in the billion only, aquino’s is in TRILLION! 2.6 TRILLION TO BE EXACT! AND AS OF THIS DATE HE HASN’T AUDITED BY COA, NOR SUBJECTED TO SCRUTINY BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY WHERE THE BUDGET WENT? Because they are afraid of their abnormal boss!

    • Amnata I guess you do not know what you are talking. It seems you are misinformed. The reason why our people suffer from these corrupt politicians is because many our people are ignorant or uneducated like you. It is so sad.

    • are you —- or what? do you even know what re-enacted budget means? that means the budget being proposed was not approved and they will be forced to use the previous budget. Tatagalogin ko ha…kung hindi naipasa yung budget na gusto nila, ibig sabihin ay gagamitin nila yung dating budget na ginagamit nila.

  13. The idea brought forward previously to cede Batanes to China in exchange of all their other claims in the West Philippine Sea looks better and better as long as it includes A bad family.

  14. The Aquino bunch seems to be incompetent in everything except how to hide the money. Aquino is a master of deception and bribery.

  15. P. on

    I wonder what happened to the opposition; have they all been silenced on the prospect of getting a share of the biggest PB? Is it okay with them despite the control by this sitting president and declaration of the SC on its unconstitutionality? What is going on with our country?

    I hope you will continue discussing this, Mr. Tiglao, in order for people to be enlightened on how the peoples’ money is being spent. What happened to the previous PB is a dangerous precedent. By all means, this should be checked. .

    • although it is numbers game in congress, the problem is that … the proposed budget resubmitted because of some errors were not presented to the body at all. only a chosen a few (select members of committee) was given the task to go over it and subsequently voted upon in the body. if i am not mistaken, only 27 congressmen opposed the resubmitted budget. in other words, the approval was railroaded. however, the minority opposition are planning to send it to SC if they will not be given the chance to study the insertion made.

  16. We are to be blame on these massive control of Pnoy of government funds. We allowed him to control both houses last year by electing most of his allies and the worst of it the Comelec, COA and SC are mostly his appointees. These government funds will be utilized to propel Roxas to the presidency on 2016 so they are politically destroying Binay popularity rating in order to narrow the gap making it easier to cheap in 2016. These moves will go on until our people will make a move to stop it.

  17. I smell a rat, a dead rat.

    PNoy’s photo here really shows his symptoms of inborn mentally challenged boy.

  18. Mr. Tiglao: Can you or any one with conscious mind file a case against this pork barrel to the SC before it’s too late?. We can talk and talk and talk but if no action is initiated then nothing will stop this abuse by these sharks.

    By the way, what happened to your column last week where your picture was there but not your commentaries?

  19. mr. tiglao, i was shocked when someone told me that he was assessed by the bir to pay one million deficiency tax, but was issued only 20 thousand receipt. in the first year of pres. aquino administration, i also heard bir asking at least one million from any businessmen, they said bir under aquino is the most corrupt than any past administration.