• PDAF unconstitutional – SC

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    THE Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund “unconstitutional”, confirming a Manila Times story last Nov.18. It also made permanent the temporary restraining order it imposed on the 2013 PDAF.

    Voting 14-0, the High Court declared the entire balance of the 2013 PDAF unconstitutional in a decision penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe. The ruling is “immediately executory.”

    With big fangs against erring government officials involved in the PDAF scam, the SC has directed the prosecutorial arms of government, particularly the Office of the Ombudsman, to investigate and file criminal charges before the courts of law.

    “The Court hereby directs all prosecutorial organs of government to, within the bounds of reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all funds under thee pork barrel system,” it avers.

    Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco inhibited since his wife, Lorna Velasco, was a partylist member of the House of Representatives and his son, Lord Allan Velasco, was a former representative of Marinduque.

    The SC also declared unconstitutional the following:

    • All legal provisions of past and present congressional pork barrel laws such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and various congressional insertions which authorized legislators— whether individually or collectively organized into committees—to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment,  unrelated to the power of congressional oversight.

    • All legal provision of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which conferred personal, lump-sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine;”

    • All informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of discretions; and

    The High Tribunal also found the phrases ‘and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the president under Sec 8 of PD 910 to finance the priority infrastructure development projects under Sec 12 of PD No. 1869 as amended by PD No. 1993’ failing in both the sufficient standard test in violation of the principle of non-delegability of legislative powers.

    “Accordingly, the court’s temporary injunction dated Sept. 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be permanent.”

    With this, all the remaining PDAF funds shall be halted and shall not be released.

    “Thus, the disbursements/release of remaining PDAF funds allocated for year 2013 and previous years; the Malampaya Funds under the phrase ‘And for such other purposes as may hereby directed by the president’ pursuant to Section 8 of PD 910 which are, at the time of this decision is promulgated, not covered by Notice of Cash Allocation but only by Special Allotment Release Orders, whether obligated or not, are hereby ENJOINED.”

    Only Justice Arturo Brion did not concur in the result enjoining the Malampaya funds.

    The SC en banc “also enjoins the release of funds sourced from the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase ‘to finance the priority infrastructure development projects pursuant to Section 12 PD 1869 as amended by PD 1993. Said funds covered by this permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead returned to the general coffers of government except for the funds covered by the Malampaya funds and the Presidential Social Fund which shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes not otherwise declared unconstitutional.”

    Meanwhile, the SC junked the plea of the petitioners to summon the Commission on Audit, Malacañang, and Congress of their books of accounts on PDAF since it can be done via separate petition for mandamus or it can be obtained directly from the respective government agencies.

    “The Court hereby denies petitioners’ prayer seeking the Executive Secretary and/or the Department of Budget and Management be ordered to provide the public and the Commission Audit the complete lists/schedules or detailed reports related to the availments and utilizations of the funds subject of these cases.

    Petitioners’ access to official documents already available and of public record but are not related to these funds must, however, be merely subjected to the custodian’s reasonable regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on the same, the court said.

    This denial is without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they or the Commission on Audit may choose to pursue through a separate petition,” it pointed out.

    The SC en banc also junked the petitioner’s prayer to include the funds subject of these cases in the budgetary deliberations of Congress saying it is a matter best left to the prerogative of the political branches of government.”

    The respondents Malacañang headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

    The petitioners were Atty. Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society, former Manila councilor Greco Belgica, former congressman Augusto Syjuco and former Boac, Marinduque mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno.

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    11 Comments

    1. Gentlemen, let us forget that there one body more supreme than the supreme court and can override its decisions. The name is Leila De Lima. Be vigilant.

    2. I am glad the Supreme Court has spoken. At least there are still people like the
      Supreme Court justices who are not swayed by Noynoy and his lapdogs.
      This another proof that this administration has been engaged in shortcuts to
      satisfy their whims regardless. They are fun of palusot. Now, that the Supreme
      Court declared the PDAP as unconstitutional, what can they say now? Ignorantia
      leyes est minimum escusat(People are supposed to know the law and ignorance
      of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith). Hence, Abnoy and
      company (Drilon, Abad, etc) does not seem to understand the law. If such is the
      case, they are grossly incompetent for they have no respect of the rule of law.

    3. I AM WAITING WITH BAITED BREATH WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF THE SWS AND PULSE ASIA SURVEYS END OF THE MONTH OR EARLY NEXT MONTH. ANOTHER 90% OR 80% APPROVA FOR PNOY AND DISAPPROVAL TO THE REST.

    4. louie de la cruz on

      If the decision done by the supreme court was right why they are always late in action? Why they allowed these bad politicians to rule and disburse the fund wrongly in such a way they will benefit themselves only but not the public. The public outcry about this pdaf was enormous. If the sc people will align these it will be a good benefit for the country.

    5. The honorable justices have proved by their decision that the highest court of the land is independent of President B. S. Cojuangco-Aquino and his allies who control both houses of our Congress.

      If the Supreme Court justices continue on this path, they will help our country attain the Daang Matuwid ideal that President Aquino claims to be his policy but betrays every day. Yes, though he may be personal clean, Mr. Aquino betrays the Daang Matuwid policy by allowing his crooked friends in the executive branch and his allies in Congress and local governments to do what they want.

      Dominador Canastra

      • Personal clean is if he is not tainted with anything anomalous. The bribing of senators and congressmen to oust Corona smacks of action criminal in nature. Thus, he is not clean.

    6. Bravo to the Supreme Court for declaring the PDAF unconstitutional. Good job! Now, get the pork barrel funds of PNoy declared unconstitutional too.

    7. Thank you my “Lord and my God” for the decision of the Supreme Court. You save the Filipino people. Once more the “Supreme Court” is supreme. Now every body can breath with relief.

    8. So the SC has declared the PDAF as unconstitutional and it took them only about a week to deliberate on it. Now how about the SC deliberating on their very own Judicial Discretionary Fund which is the SC’s version of pork barrel! Filipino judges are such hypocrites that they presume to be smarter and more upright than all Filipinos when nothing could be further from the truth. Pinoy judges meddle in all aspects of Filipino society without any sense of accountability EVEN though not one single judge has ever been elected by the Filipino people!!!!

      • MR. TONY LET US NOT GO THAT FAR . JUST BE THANKFUL FOR THE RIGHT DECISION THAT THEY MADE. A NEGATIVE OR SARCASM WILL NOT SOLVE THE COUNTRIES MISERY. PLEASE DO NOT ADD TO IT . PEACE.