Pork barrel defined Aquino presidency

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Next to his disastrously weak prepa-ration for and response to super-typhoon Yolanda that killed at least 5,000 people, it is President Aquino’s gargantuan pork-barrel system that defines his administration.

His has been the administration that relied the most on the pork-barrel system; his was the biggest of such bribery scheme in Philippine history.

All the administration’s talk that it was a government of a high moral ground, of a daang matuwid in reality was a huge smokescreen that concealed Aquino’s scheme that made members of Congress his lackeys.

Take out the Supreme Court justice! Acquiesce to the jailing of an ailing President Gloria Arroyo despite the grossly weak evidence for the charges against her! Pass the reproductive health law! Ignore Aquino’s bungling of the Luneta hostage crisis and his unilateral cancellation of foreign-funded crucial flood control projects, of new ro-ro projects and bridges!


By giving away Congress a total of P90 billion from June 2010 to 2013, much of which its members pocketed one way or another, Aquino had them follow his wishes.

Pork barrel of P23 billion under Arroyo (2008-2010) and under Aquino (2011-2013) P86 billion. Amounts for 2011 and 2012 include P6 billion pork barrel annually taken from the funds for the Disbursement Acceleration Program. (Source: www.dbm.gov.ph

Pork barrel of P23 billion under Arroyo (2008-2010) and under Aquino (2011-2013) P86 billion. Amounts for 2011 and 2012 include P6 billion pork barrel annually taken from the funds for the Disbursement Acceleration Program. (Source: www.dbm.gov.ph

P25 billion yearly under Aquino
The figures show how much Aquino had relied on pork barrel funds. Averaging only P7 billion yearly during Arroyo’s term (and about P4 billion yearly during Fidel Ramos’s and Joseph Estrada’s administrations), pork barrel under Aquino had nearly quadrupled annually to P25 billion per year.

Aquino even gave away to senators another P12 billion in pork barrel for 2011 and 2012— taken out of a fund hijacked for a purported “Disbursement Acceleration Program”—just to be sure that the Senate removed Chief Justice Corona.

However, this administration has been such a bungling one that it was a comedy of errors. The study by the Commission on Audit’s special audit on Congress’s pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF, was ordered May 13, 2010 (under COA Office Order No. 2012-309) by the agency’s chairman then Rey Villar, whom Aquino kicked out and even charged in a case that included the former President.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad—believed by many to be Aquino’s brains—thought he had a bright idea: the audit could be exploited to politically bury opposition leaders so that Aquino’s political heir, Mar Roxas, would win the presidency hands down in 2016.

So Abad simply refused to provide the COA with the documents on pork barrel use by administration lawmakers, especially of its senators, but gave it the minute details how opposition senators—especially Ramon Revilla, Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada, both of whom were presidential or vice presidential timber for 2016—used their PDAF. Thus nearly 100 percent of the PDAF of the two senators, as well as Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan, were audited, in contrast to the less than 10 percent of the administration’s senators.

Public enraged
To enrage public opinion, Aquino’s camp managed to get the staff of alleged pork-barrel scam operator Janet Napoles to provide the juicy, shocking details of the scheme and of the immense wealth—even a Manhattan apartment—she got out of it. The biggest newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer, apparently in exchange for having exclusive coverage of the exposé, published these as banner headlines for several weeks, scandalizing the nation.

As a result, the opposition senators have been demonized in media so much that they now wouldn’t stand a chance in the 2016 elections.

But karma is a real bitch. The exposés indeed enraged public opinion—so much that cases were filed asking the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional, which Aquino and Abad had not anticipated. (We congratulate these patriots who filed the cases: Samson Alcantara, Greco Belgica, Jose Gonzalez, Reuben Abante, Quintin Paredes San Diego, and Pedrito Nepomuceno. Somebody should organize an event to honor them.)

And it was the details unearthed by the COA that prompted the Supreme Court to rule it unconstitutional. This is in contrast to a similar case in 1994 against pork barrel which the Court declared constitutional. Without such a COA audit as there was this time around, the petitioners of 1994 could not submit such details on its use by lawmakers, and had to rely on weak abstract arguments, for example, that “recommendations” on pork barrel use were in effect the legislators’ execution of the budget law, which was solely the executive’s realm.

Fatal blow, but also body blow
As a result, what Aquino intended to be the fatal blow to the opposition for 2016 at this early stage turned out to be such a body blow to his administration, that he suddenly left Tacloban for Malacañang in disbelief of the news that the High Court ruled pork barrel unconstitutional.

No longer does Aquino has the easy mechanism for bribing Congress to do his bidding. Without pork barrel, he is not even sure now that he can stop an impeachment move against him.

However there are a few, including a veteran solon who claim that Aquino will find another mechanism to replace PDAF. “Aquino has such huge discretionary funds by which he can bribe members of Congress,” the veteran solon said.

However such a more complicated system for bribing Congress would be difficult for this administration that really hasn’t demonstrated much gray matter.

Under the PDAF system, 270 representatives were allotted by law—i.e., the appropriations law—P40 million each per year, while the 24 senators were allocated P200 million.

It was thus a simple matter for Aquino to withhold the PDAF allocations to lawmakers not cooperating with him.

Messy and tedious without PDAF
Without the PDAF, it would be a messy, tedious system to use his discretionary funds to bribe or penalize 300-odd lawmakers. Each of these 300 would be bugging Aquino and his budget secretary to fund this or that project, after each of them had inserted their specific projects in the appropriations law.

They might be able to release funding for projects from which lawmakers can easily get kickback from. But Aquino and Abad would have to personally keep their “black books” to monitor each of these releases, and they can’t rely on the budget department officials to keep such records confidentially.

At least, I hope I’m right. So much of taxpayers’ money has been stolen by—I cringe using that term—”lawmakers.” But its debilitating impact on our nation is really much more.

The pork barrel system runs counter to all models of government’s role in the nation. Even if there is no theft of pork barrel funds, we cannot afford, especially with a very limited budget, to disperse funds into thousands of such projects as basketball courts, “multi-purpose” halls, small roads, and “training” projects. Since it is the entity which has control of the biggest fund in the nation, government’s role is to fund huge projects that the private sector can’t or won’t fund but which would stimulate economic activity—infrastructure mainly.

Even in terms of social services, why disperse funds for “medical assistance“ to thousands of politicians’ constituents when government can instead build more public hospitals or upgrade the existing ones? Our Air Force can afford only three C-130s, which slowed down relief and rescue efforts for Yolanda’s victims, when some of the billions of pork barrel funds wasted in the past three years could have added to its fleet.

A democratic republic is based on the independence of the three branches of government. We have had nearly an Aquino dictatorship since he controlled through his pork barrel the Congress. And he even used Congress to nearly browbeat to submission the Supreme Court, the third branch of the republic, by taking out its chief justice.

By ruling pork barrel as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has strengthened our democracy.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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31 Comments

  1. Dear Mr. Tiglao,

    To make sure I get a balanced news and views, I am an avid fan of your column as well as of Jojo Reyes of MST, to get to the truth of what inq. and abs-cbnnews.com are relaying.
    I wonder if you can help me print my input which I posted on the subject of your column today, under leave a comment portion of the article. It says:

    “name : hedy bayhon peralta
    e-mail address:hedybayhonperalta@yahoo.com
    website: http://www.philnews.com/

    I affirm that President Aquino will be remembered as having no foresight, advance planning and he is certainly not a visionary. It is not enough to be a son of an illustrious couple.
    As a politician and former legislator, he should have known that pork barrel releases resulted in political patronage and bribe giving that is why right after his election as President, the allies of former Pres. GMA and others joined or coalesced with President Pnoy’s political party. Also, since he and his office must have heard that the then forthcoming typhoon was Signal #5, he must have imagined it was a Katrina-like hurricane which would result in countless death and destruction. He should have ordered all government resources and basic necessities pre-positioned near the areas where the typhoon would affect because those within the area would be victims and local officials would not be able to be first responders. On both counts of inability to avoid or prevent corruption and unnecessary loss of lives and property, his legacy is thus defined.”
    Thanks and regards

  2. Sa wakas, nagdesisyon din nang para sa bayan, at tama sa batas ang Korte Suprema!

    Ngayon, may chance na tayong maglinis ng sistema ng gobyerno…

    Dahil wala nang PDAF, kaunti na lang ang tatakbo sa pwesto, at mababawasan na ang sobra-sobrang pulitikahan…

    I can not contain myself in the joy of hearing the SC ruling….thank you, Justices!

    And best wishes to the Corona family, finally you have been vindicated…

  3. Mr. Tiglao,

    Isang daang porsyento ako sumasangayon sa pahayag mo. Si P’noy narin ang
    nagsabi na magpapa-mpeach daw siya kung illegal ang Pdaf at DAP niya,
    kung may natitira pa siyang kahihiyan dapat mag resign na lang siya para
    sa kapakanan ng bayan.

    Si Spkr. Belmonte nagsabi na di daw nila prioridad sa kongreso ang kakapasang
    panukala sa committee na anti dynasty bill, napaka manhind na tao itong si
    belmonte, di man lang sinalang alang ang probisyon sa constitution na nagbaba-
    wal sa dynasty. Matanda ka na belmonte, huwag mo baliwalain ang
    adhikain ng yumao mong maybahay at sana ikaw din ay gumawa na ng
    magandang larawan na para iwanan mo sa bayan para sa iyong alaals o
    legacy. Wala man lang kayo malasakit sa kapakanan ng bayan.

    Bern

  4. imagine from 4b to 25 b you see the big gest diference just to bribe these honorablbe cong and sntong oh how corrupt this govt.

  5. Now it is the SC talking who is the real corrupt king? Karma to Pnoy and his minions had just begun….kaya masama manloko at magsinungaling dahil matindi ang balik ng “GABA”.

  6. The CULTURE of Rotten-Corrupt System, deeply embedded in a culture of IMPUNITY, whoever is the sitting President in that STENCH filled Malacanang.
    Presidents come and go, same ol’-same old persists, exists, and insists.

    Nothing new in the Philippines, The same will be the prevailing business as usual, pervading tradition comes 2016 with a new “elected Prez comes into the Office…2022, 2028, 2034 and beyond, unless real changes are in effect to overhaul the defective, destructive ways….Indonesia has turned a corner in its image as from those years corruptive system, RP is glued to its crooked ways and I don’t even see a flicker of light escaping the black hole!!!

  7. In the good ole days I understand, senators and congresspersons were not as “ganid” and swapang” as now. Before in a project, 60 percent of the funds really went to the project. 15% will go to senator/tongressman, 10% to those who facilitate the release and payment of the funds, 10% to the provincial and local officials, and the 5% remainder will be the kaltas of the contractors, subcontractors and the miron. Now the take of the senatong or tongressman is up to 40 to 50%, 15% to the government facilitators, 0 to 5% percent for the project (usually useless items), 20-25% to the fake NGOs and/or the Napoleses and the remaining 5-10% goes to the “mirons” e.g. chief of staff of the senatong or tongressman. The problem, hindi yata matino ang partihan, kaya nagkabukuhan.

  8. Miguel Doromal on

    Pork Barrel defined BS Aquino and his Liberal Party (LP).

    >>> LAZY PIGS (LP)

    >>> LAGING PALPAK (LP)

  9. Sui Generis III on

    “when some of the billions of pork barrel funds wasted in the past THREE YEARS could have added to its fleet.”

    brad patriotic na sana article mo kung sinabi mo ” past TWENTY FIVE YEARS ” masyado tuloy naging obvious yung anti PNoy sentiment mo.

    However, you’re doing a good job of enlightening us about the sinister scheme of this administration. Just write the unbiased truth and you will be fine.

    Cheers!

    • He he he, a die hard Aquino puppet toy trying to minimise the impact Tiglao’s commentaries has on the readers. The same tact used by P-noy na gasgas na gasgas talaga. Point at the previous GMA government first and compare. No use, pendejo, P-noy’s bunglings, wastefulness and shortcomings has surpassed even that of GMA as of now. Okey then, make it proactive 25 years back and dig up as well his mother’s grave and burn her too because I am sure, she is as guilty of this wanton misuse of the people’s money.

  10. Hanggang nasa gobyerno si Abnoy,
    Drilon, Abad, Belmonte at Roxas,
    ay wala tayong maaasahang maganda para sa bayan. Mga sobrang gahaman sa pera at kapangyarihang lahat yan.

  11. Supplemental budget naman ang sagot ng Tonggreso. Prof. Briones, paki-explain kung paanong hindi lang ito magiging ibang taktika para sa “pinakamamahal” nilang PDAF na inalis ng Korte Suprema. [ Mabuhay ang KS]. Bantay -sarado dapat sa gagawin ng mga “masisiba.”

  12. Mr. Tiglao quoted “His has been the administration that relied the most on the pork-barrel system; his was the biggest of such bribery scheme in Philippine history.”

    My God look whos talking!!! Isn’t it during their heyday day in the Palace Philippines was rank #2 on the most corrupt country in the whole world!!! Isn’t it PDAF during their time in power not only abuse but raped and molested with brutality same with the funds of SSS, GSIS, and other renvenue earning agencies, they devastated it all. kayong lahat ang kakapal ng mukha nyo. sa palagay ko kayo yung mga taong malalaki ang kita noon panahon ni Arroyo. kaya kayo galit ngayon kay PNOY ay dahil hindi na siguro nagmamantika ang mga bibig nyo tulad ng dati..ang mga magnanakaw ay galit sa kapwa magnanakaw kasi..tapos na ang panahon ng pagnanakaw nyo..Panahon naman nina PNOY ngayon gawin ang katulad ng mga pinag gagawa nyo..Sabi nga ni corrupt ERAP weather weather lang yan…Inggit lang kasi kayo dahil hindi na kayo nakapang nanakaw ng kaban ng bayan ngayon. wait nyo ang weather nyo…parepareho kayong lahat magnanakaw!!!!

    • Tiglao was clearly referring to the doubling of pork barrel during the very first year of Aquino when he spoke of the “biggest bribery scheme in history”. By inference he was also referring to the use of over a billion pesos of DAP funds to bribe the legislators into impeaching Corona.

      As for all those inflated claims about corruption under Arroyo, take note that virtually all the graft and plunder charges against her have either been withdrawn by gov’t itself or been reduced or dismissed by the courts. What’s keeping her behind bars now is just the PCSO case where she put a marginal note “OK” on a document authorizing funds releases. Did she direct how those funds were spent, let alone appropriate any of it for herself? Absolutely no evidence has been offered for this.

      Just remember that the people who were putting Arroyo down all those years are the same people who fooled us into electing Aquino into office. Go figure out who’s telling us the truth.

    • According to Pinoy, even if proven that GMA has nothing to do with the PCSO, kailangan pa rin siyang ma detain dahil yong fatalities that exceed 2500 at yong walang direction and organization in relief distribution, kaslanan ni GMA.

  13. Not so fast Mr. Tiglao. Already Belmonte has proposed that the president ask for a supplemental budget to replace the discredited PDAF which has been the fuel for the congress’ machine to run. Absent it, they are worthless and useless. Why the supplemental budget, when the president still has discretionary funds with which to help Yolanda’s victims and their provinces? This supplemental budget smells like PDAF because the legislators could smell it from wherever they are. They really do not rest in fooling the people and taking their hard-earned money.

    • The reason for the supplemental budget is because DAP, notwithstanding the subtle threat of De LIMA to SC, will be declared unconstitutional. It will be 12-3-1 with Sereno, Leonen and Bernanbe dissenting and Velasco abstaining. What rattled Aquino, nabigla sa SC decision at di makagisip nang matino (he has none there anyway) so he had to fly back immediately to Manila because his imagination went wild with the overriding thought that his wings were just clipped. You see, he did not expect that SC decision, believing that his subtle threat to SC on the pork barrel will work. Those Justices are just sending a message to Aquino “Never threaten us nor toy with us. We can get back to you. So be a good boy”.

  14. Hep, hep, hep, Tiglao and Gloria Arroyo bashers, careful, do not react negatively right away. Read this nice piece and more importantly, look closely on the graph-presentation which came from government, sources no less. Now, if one knows how to read and understands how to read a graph, based on the same who between Arroyo and PNoy is the worse Commender-in-Thief?

    • PNoy is definitely does not deserve to be called commander in chief. Remember the 19 soldiers ambushed a while back? If I remember right, he even blame the army for it.

    • The worse commander-in-chief is BS Aquino. The better commander-in-chief is Gloria Arroyo.

      The commander-in-Thief is only BS Aquino (?).. Gloria Arroyo was never a thief. Proof : up until now, she was never charged, much less convicted of thievery, robbery, or plunder.

  15. The Philippines’ political landscape will change tremendously because of this ruling. I am hoping that the change will be for the better. It is time for the honest and brilliant Filipino minds to come out and run for public office. I long to see Philippines led by the best and the brightest who are passionate about the country and its people. Leaders who are not motivated by power, influence and greed but of the true meaning of public service.

  16. Dahil sa pagiging unconsitutional ng PDAF, kung tatagalogin natin, nag-iisip na naman si Noynoy at ang mga alipores niya ng mga kataranduhan kung saan kukuha ng pera upang ipansuhol sa mga mambabatas nang sa gayon makontrol nila ang mga mambabatas. Ang mga mambabatas ay hindi dapat tawagin mambabatas. Sila ay mga tarantado pero mas tarantado si Noynoy at mga alipores niya katulad ni Roxas, Abad at Drillon.

  17. The prosecutorial arm of the government as provided for in the Supreme Court
    decision should also go after these palusot people such as abnoy, drilon, Belmonte,
    abad, etc. They justify their acts na ang mga pork barrel daw nila ay napunta sa
    mga projects. It is just like saying na okay lang ang magnakaw kapag gamitin mo
    ang ninakaw sa mga projects. Kong ganoon ang katwiran ay alisin na lang ang
    batas na bawal ang magnakaw. Kong ordinario na empleado ang gumawa ng
    ganyan, do you think he or she will go scot free? Isa pa, bakit ang mga taong
    ito, sila abnoy, drilon, belmonte, abad, etc., hindi ba nila alam ang batas? Ang mga
    tao ay dapat alam nila ang batas ng bayan lalong lalo sa mga taong ito. Ignorance
    of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. The were duly sworn
    to obey, protect and defend the constitution at all times. Ibig nilang sabihin ngayon
    na hindi nila alam and they are ignorant of the law? Or they are just making palusot?
    Limpak limpak na taxpayers money ay nalustay and no matter how it was spent ay
    unconstitutional or it was against the law. Lalong lalo na kong ginamit ito sa pag-impeach kay Corona. THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS. NO MAN
    IN THIS COUNTRY IS ABOVE THE LAW.