• Nine senators invented ‘insertions’ bypass of pork ban

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    To assign infamy where infamy is due, nine incumbent senators (some up for reelection next year) invented the brazen stratagem of using insertions in the budget to neutralize and bypass the emphatic Supreme Court decision on November 19, 2013, which ruled that the Priority Developmenrt Assistance Fund (PDAF) is unconstitutional.

    Let’s call them the Intrepid Nine (like the magnificent seven and the dirty dozen in the movies) because it takes bravado and insolence to defy a ruling of the Supreme Court. To get away with the maneuver you need the guile and smarts of James Bond. In the Filipino milieu, you need, in addition, a thick face (kapal ng mukha).

    Behold the Intrepid Nine
    To get to the point, the Intrepid Nine are:
    1.Alan Peter Cayetano
    2. Pia Cayetano
    3. Antonio Trillanes
    4. Lito Lapid
    5. Ralph Recto
    6. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
    7. J.V. Ejercito
    8. Ramon “Bong” Revilla
    9. Jinggoy Estrada.

    When I first beheld the list, it was an “aha moment” for me, because I honestly could not believe that they would defy the court.

    High among the surprises is the inclusion of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, because she has often preached rectitude among her Senate colleagues. Did she, I wondered, lend her legal smarts to this brazen maneuver?

    Eyebrow-raising but not surprising is the inclusion of Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, since they are the most strident accusers for graft of vice President Binay in the ongoing senate blue ribbon inquiry.

    Deserving an asterisk is the inclusion of J.V. Ejercito, because he had just been elected to the Senate in the May 2013 elections. His seat was not yet warmed, and here he was already engaged in collaring his share of Senate pork.

    In a major blow to political dynasties, two pairs of siblings figure prominently in the list: senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano; and senators J. V. Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada.

    From detention in Camp Crame for their misuse of PDAF, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada command attention, but not much sympathy.

    Lito Lapid, who hopes to move to another elective position in the 2016 elections, will discover that he is not anonymous after all.

    Ralph Recto, the Senate president pro tempore and no. 2 man in the chamber, may not be ready yet to take over from Senate president Franklin Drilon.

    Who brought this group together? Who were the brains behind the insertions scheme?

    I have my suspicions, but I will keep them to myself, unless I’m summoned to the Senate to guess and testify.

    Ernie Maceda scooped the media
    Perhaps not surprisingly, it was a former senator who scooped all journalists on who and what the senators were cooking to bypass the SC decision. I refer to former Senator Ernesto Maceda.

    In his column in the Philippine Star, Maceda wrote on January 11, 2014:

    “Despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) unconstitutional and despite President Aquino’s declaration that it is time to abolish the PDAF, 9 Senators have retained their P200 million pork barrel in the 2014 budget by realigning them to different departments in the General Appropriations Act.

    “The 9 Senators are Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes, Lito Lapid, Ralph Recto, Miriam D. Santiago, J.V. Ejercito, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

    “Congressmen are complaining why they have not been allowed the same privilege.

    “The President did not veto the senators’ insertions, thus allowing this form of pork barrel to remain.”

    The dates of the promulgation of the SC decision and Maceda’s expose are significant. They show that within weeks of the SC ruling, senators were already plotting to preserve and protect their illegal pork entitlements.

    With a crocodile statement, Senate President Franklin Drilon welcomed the SC ruling, saying that it only affirmed the Senate’s position that PDAF must be abolished.

    “The Senate will see to it that henceforth, all officials shall adhere to laws and rules and regulations governing the use of public funds,” he said.

    The Supreme Court could not have been more emphatic in its ruling. It voted 14-0-1 to strike down the congressional pork barrel, and spelled out category by category what it was proscribing, leaving no room for doubt.

    Following the SC ruling, Senator Santiago claimed that the pork barrel scandal had caused her failing health. She said: “I fell ill with chronic fatigue syndrome and have been suffering the ailment for nearly a year…. Getting sick over the pork barrel scandal was well worth it, now that the Supreme Court has validated my position…There’s a God, after all.”

    But then after all the moralizing, she joined eight Senate colleagues in using insertions in the budget to bypass the SC decision.

    Insertions conspiracy expanded
    After the evidently successful insertions maneuver with the 2014 budget, the Intrepid Nine were joined by their other colleagues in making insertions in the 2015 budget.

    It is these new insertions, which form the subject of Senator Ping Lacson’s recent expose. He has caught everyone’s attention with the claim that the insertions and lump sum appropriations total P424 billion in all.

    With the nine who originated the insertions scheme already named here, I submit that media inquiry and public vigilance must now move into exposing the names of all senators who have participated in the operations on the 2015 budget.

    As Senate finance committee chairman Sen. Francis Escudero should be compelled as a matter of public duty to disclose the names of the senators, and how much each has inserted into this year’s budget. With the claim of Sen. Serge Osmena that there are some senators who were allowed to make insertions from P1 billion to P2 billion, the nation should now demand that they be unmasked.

    This is a challenge that all journalists who are covering the Senate should strive to investigate. We must join together in ensuring that this bypass operation is expunged from our political system.

    yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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    23 Comments

    1. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      23 July 2015

      The nation has former Senator Ernesto Maceda and Yen Makabenta for exposing these “lawmakers-scalawags” who succeeded in making these unconstitutional “INSERTIONS”–pork barrel really–into the 2014 and the 2015 National Budgets, obviously with the approval of the Senate President!

      These 9 senators are “sin verguenza!” Shameless for allowing inordinate to rule their better judgments.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      Lapulapu1927@yahoo.com

    2. this is the kind of reporting this country needs.. exposing the corrupt and the hypocrites.. !!

    3. expect more revelations of sleaze when candidacies are filed in October – and will become more vicious day by day towards election day! yet, it is still he or she who has the deeper pocket will eventually win in Philippine elections!

    4. NOw it is clear to me that our Political system becomes a MAFIA or Syndicate, because of money. Hindi na nila ginagawa ang kanilang tungkulin na magserbisyo sa ating bayan. Minafia na nila ang ating pamahalaan,. Kawawa namn si Juan de la cruz sa pagsasamantala ng mga MAFIA sa Senado at Congress.>>>.
      what is the solution to desolve this Mafia at the Senate, Congress and in Malacanang?
      Have a revolutionary government.Indict all those government officials who enrich themselves thru pork barrel. In this coming elections remember all these senators, and dont vote for them….MAFIA syndicate at the senate and government offices

    5. Rogelio Feir on

      As i have thought all along, they are all tainted. I have only one but i am proud i will withhold it on the tainted ones. God help us.

    6. Yung mga senators na kakandidato bilang presidente at bise presidente sa susunod na halalan, karapatan ng taong bayan malaman kung magkano ang budget insertions din nila sa 2015 budget para malaman natin kung sila ba ay tunay na maglilingkod sa ating bayan o magpapayaman lang sa kaban ng ating bayan. Obligasyon ito ni Senator Escudero na ipaalam ito sa taong bayan at kung hindi niya gagawin ay alam natin kung ano ang gagawin natin sa kanya sa darating na halalan kung siya ba ay kakandidato bilang bise presidente.

    7. Something’s nit clear here… Yen, insertion doesn’t mean anything if not been used. Who among them senators used those insertions? I dont believed all of them have had spent those insertionand how much each received?

    8. joseSeanpedro on

      I just lost my respect to Miriam. As a Cancer patient and not fully recovered even if her cancer has been “arrested” I hope she clears this up.

    9. genesisbughaw on

      Sir,
      sabi ni Sen. cheating chiz, temporary lang daw po yan. Next time temporary uli.
      Wow! full of legal sophistry.
      At ang insertions ay parang ok lang tanggapin na kasama sa legal na sistema.
      It’s institutional corruption.
      May your tribe increase Sir Yen.

    10. So shameless those 9 so-called senators are, indeed. What lowlifes have they become. They project a clean image of public service. Yet underneath, their political rhetorics are long in sleaze. Their pretentious valuing of general welfare is conditioned by their vested interests.

      Listen, you characters of the underworld masquerading as senators. May your tribes decrease to oblivion.

    11. Leodegardo Pruna on

      Mr. Yen should be congratulated for clarifying an earlier and continuing revelation of senators’ insertion of funds in their respective accounts. What a fool the Filipino people is being made of by these unscrupulous officials and their are more I suppose. Thank you Mr. Yen for your enlightening column. God bless the Philippines.

    12. Samuel Santos on

      I wonder why Mr. Maceda’s January 2014 article did not raise eyebrows and generate interest as this article of Mr. Makabenta is doing now. Could it be that Mr. Maceda’s column in another broadsheet does not have broad readership? Sayang naman.

      • lahat ng sinusulat ni manong ernie sa philstar ay laging binabatikos ng mga trolls. kaya mas malaki ang tsansa na totoo ang kanyang isinusulat. sya rin ang nag expose ng 2,000 missing containers loaded with highly dutiable goods in transit from port of manila to batangas port supposedly for transhipment. yes for transhipment but not to any port but to divisoria and malls. btw, somebody i know who works at boc told me that the missing containers were more than 3,000

    13. Justaskingseriously on

      This is really what the nation has been looking for all this time. In politics it is perception that trapos create to mask their reality: no matter how “nice and moral” they appear, they are always out to “recover” their investments and get some more to “invest” in the next round of elections. Keep your nose following the smell of money. You will see faces feasting at the expense of the taxpayers. Good job, Yen. Good job, former Senator Ernesto Maceda. Good job, Ping. Good job in your cooperative efforts (pintakasi). The spirit of “pintakasi” is also at work in the dark side. Now everyone is wondering about the Machiavellian master. It is imperative that this cooperative effort is intensified in the bright side. Those journalists in the conscript media should always regard themselves as belonging to the bright side even if the owners of the media may not be.

      Term limits? To limit corruption? Lifting term limits? To retain experienced lawmakers and local leaders? Would that really work like it is “supposed” to work in the “free market”? Unbridled capitalism. Unbridled politics. Both deal with human nature. Checks and balances are always necessary. Great journalists provide checks especially when constitutionally established checks and balances are in disarray like it is today.

    14. rene catalasan on

      It takes a lot of guts like you to list all the names of those incumbent senators for the pork barrel insertions.
      For this I salute and admire you.

    15. These “Magnificent-Dirty Senators” ( The Cayetanos, Pia and Allan, Trillanes, Santiago, The Estradas , Jinggoy and JV, , REVILLA, Recto and Lapid) are just the front-people in making INSERTIONS in the budget to test the waters, if the Water runs silent and deep without being noticed or bypassed or vetoed. It was a successful attempt by these greedy. Senators to override the so called “pork barrel” and come up with new cover-up! This premature expose will deter this hungry senators from consummating their “attempted illegal constituent assistance projects” with commissions, and will compel them to plough back the funds to legitimate public projects. Although the insertions are mere attempt to circumvent the allocated funds to ghost projects that brings commissions (Napoles-like projects for commissions), they are nonetheless overt acts to show the Senators inclinations to pursue ” pork barrel” activities for profit of self-enrichment. In short, insertions sponsored by these nine attempting plunderers via PDAP- like funds are guilty of attempted diversions of public funds via INSERTIONS in the budget! These nine”magnificent-dirty senators must NOT BE RELECTED in this coming 2016 election.

      • Ibig mo sabihin, naitayo ang coffee shop sa The Fort ng isang senatong dahil sa kanyang insertion? Or meron nag insert sa kanya? Hindi naman siguro totoo yan.

    16. It is indeed disgusting that we find our senators as the principal initiators and purveyors of corruption into our political system. And yet they have the temerity to ask for our vote again. “Public office is a public trust”. And yet they are the no. 1 brigands in our government. I suggest that we should remember them well, so we are reminded not to vote for them again come election day.

      • nakakataka bakit hindi kasama ang pangalan ni chizwiz. sya ang chair ng finance committee at sya ang nagrerebisa ng budget. tongpats kaya ang para sa kanya????

    17. Julian Tulay on

      Revilla and Estrada by nature were born thief, they were already in jail and still wants to steal. Typical Filipino.

    18. looking more like Miriam is a fake crusader . The rest are ahh eh …. d ano pa nga ba …..kurap !