Puno: Fund misuse could spark chaos

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Former chief justice Reynato Puno (center) explains the process of a People’s Initiative to editors and reporters of The Manila Times. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

Former chief justice Reynato Puno (center) explains the process of a People’s Initiative to editors and reporters of The Manila Times. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

FORMER Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno warned on Monday of chaos, including a possible military intervention, if the People’s Initiative (PI) to scrap the pork barrel, which he considers as the “last peaceful alternative” against government fund misuse, fails.

Sharing his thoughts at a roundtable discussion with the editors and reporters of The Manila Times, Puno said this alternative was incorporated in the 1987 Constitution as the people’s last nonviolent option to bring about changes that Congress cannot deliver.

“[It] is the last peaceful alternative for the people to take charge of their destiny . . . if it failed, we can expect the anger of the people to reach a higher temperature. There will be no other option left,” said Puno.

He said the People’s Initiative provision was created primarily to “take the people out of the streets.”


The 1935 and 1973 Constitutions did not have such a provision which, according to him, is “the reserve power given to the sovereign people in 1989 by Republic Act 6735.”

“When EDSA [People Power Revolution] 1 came to pass, they expanded the direct sovereignty of the people. Congress now shares the power to enact laws with the people,” Puno said.

He first made the call for a People’s Initiative against pork barrel at the height of the controversy stirred by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Since members of the Senate and the House of Representatives would not legislate measures that will run against their own interests, it was time for the people to enact a corrective law themselves through People’s Initiative.

The initiative, he added, should be used whenever Congress defaulted in enacting necessary laws or when legislators “betrayed public trust.”

Violence
Puno said he was merely reminding the public that they have a “lawmaking power that is not subject to presidential veto.”

But if the initiative fails either by the deliberate efforts of those who want to preserve the pork barrel or by sabotage, the specter of violence becomes a huge probability, he said.

“Kapag binara baka magkagulo [If this is stopped there may be chaos],” Puno said, hinting that there are certain sectors in the military that have become impatient and restive.

Asked if he thinks some people may be planning to take more drastic action when all else failed, he replied: “I would assume.”

The military is sworn by the Constitution to be “the protector of the people” and this responsibility may be invoked in case violence erupts, Puno said.

But how the military carries out its role as protector of the people “is not explicitly defined,” he said.

“There is a need for new leaders to come out . . . As we experienced in EDSA 1, madaling mag-alis ng gobyerno pero mahirap maglagay ng tamang tao [it’s easy to topple a government but it’s hard to put the right people in power],” Puno added.

Junta
In case violence flares, some sectors may work to form a junta, or the President himself might declare a state of emergency such as what the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos did.

It is also possible that drastic action may be spearheaded by the communist-leaning Left, the rightist elements in the military or even the central government, Puno said.

“What is important is the composition of the group that will hold the center. What is their advocacy? It can even be worse,” he said.

Puno is the chairman of the Puno Memorial United Methodist Church’s administrative council.

During a recent gathering at the Good Samaritan Church in Quezon City, he was quoted as saying that “the [PDAF] scam is the sad story repeated again and again in the history of governments. But the PDAF scam is more than the story of how our people’s money was pocketed by some lowlifes among our legislators.”

“The legislators have lost their moral authority to be the guardians of the people’s money,” Puno said in a separate interview.

In a statement, the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO), composed mainly of retired star-rank military officials, asked President Benigno Aquino 3rd to abolish the presidential pork.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte said AGFO’s statement was meant to “galvanize efforts and support for people’s initiative against PDAF” espoused by Puno’s group.

“They are free to do that . . . that is part of our Constitution, they are perfectly free to pursue any means or measures that they feel would push their advocacies forward,” Valte said.

“We need not worry. We are not anxious about it because, again, if it is a citizen’s initiative, then that is within the bounds of law and they are free to pursue that as they wish,” she said.

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25 Comments

  1. It’s not easy to get 50 million signatures.This will take time. What is the percentage of concerned citizens know how to do it this way? Noble idea but not that doable. How many volunteers are needed to do the job? Remember, it’s 50 million signatures. It’s a tall order. Good luck.

  2. ‘…..To sacrifice “simultaneously” about 10 in every Region is relatively very low
    compared to the millions of Filipinos who shall be benefited. And more importantly, the impact to discipline the whole Filipino Nation, including the present and future governmental dispensation.

    Yes, mga kababayan “Discipline is the name of the game”… and very soon! … or forever perish as a people.

    Where do you belong? ……….”

    (Excerpted from: http://ilonggonation.blogspot.comsearch?q=where+do+you+belong%3F )

    • The preconceived idea of former Chief Justice Puno that a People’s Initiative (PI) could be one of the last resorts to regain the legislator’s moral authority to be the guardian of the people’s money must not be taken lightly. However, majority of the country’s registered voters are familiar with the provisions of PI that “10% of the total number of the registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters thereof shall sign a petition for the purpose and register the same with the Commission.” Ten percent is 5million and 3% of which are representative of every legislative district. The path to PI can be compared to a ‘dead end road’ if
      registered voters will consider the time spent to brainstorm its mechanism to include numbers of volunteers needed, coordination, transportation, food, lodging & time needed to collect 5 million signatures. The same considerations were possibly used by the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) why they asked President Aquino III to abolish the presidential pork. “The Pulse Asia survey also showed that, even with the President’s announcement to do away with PDAF, 45 percent are still calling for its abolition.” There are rampant vote buying in every election thus the people will not likely wait ‘til the 2016 election. Most corrupt candidates are loaded with pork barrel money to pay P500 to P1000 for every single vote needed to win. So what’s the only way out to end pork barrel as we know it? People’s Initiative, People Power Revolution i.e. EDSA III or the military as guardian of the people are the three options… What is preferable for (you) the people?

  3. if all this DAP/PDAF will be abolished we will then have a peaceful election, no more election crime, vote buying, no violence… all these because of money wherein our politicians are after of. Even to the smallest position in barangay there are reports of vote buying due to money (honorarium) that these people are after of. So bad…..

    • Dream on. You cannot change the Filipino way of life by abolishing the PDAF/DAP. You will simplistic solution to a problem will create an even bigger problem. Look at the forest instead of the trees and don’t listen to politicians who never recognized the problem while they were in office. DISCIPLINE is the solution to all these. Instill discipline first to the Filipino people and all your wishes will come true.

  4. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno has the FULL support of the People including me for the People’s initiative to totally scrap Pork Barrel.

  5. It is time that a government of the people, by the people and for the people should be in power, and the people currently in power should be stripped of these powers.
    Call on the United Nations to intervene and teach us the standards on governance and accountability.

  6. yae what we heard inthis admin are all lies, kesyo mganda daw ang econiya, mataas daw ang rating puro yabang at kurakot ang gnagawa tingna mo ang mgaalipores nya senatong at tongresman if yuo see them they are all smile pinoy is worse than the previous president

  7. Puno is not credible enough. He relinquished his post as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (most probably by the urging of Gloria), to give way for the anomalous appointment of Corona.

    People should not be deceived by these nefarious characters.

  8. wilmer Andrada on

    If the PDAF and the DAP will be declared unconstitutional, then it should not be part of any future governance.Why are they stalling the Freedom Of Information Bill?Is it because they do not want the public to know their process of political kleptocrasy?The military option is not a bad alternative.Padlock Congress and Boot out all the undesirables, declare a special election and exclude all the crocodiles and vultures.We need leaders who know the needs of our people such as a comprehensive National Health Care System, A student loan assistance program,resettlement projects for the homeless, destitute and hopeless citizenry,low income housing to replace our congested squatters,green alternatives,less corruption and bureaucracy, more financing for the NBI so they could catch more thieves, a national cooperative program for our farmers,and a Marshall Plan or a Blue Print for the Philippines.

  9. the people are tired of these crooks, its time for people power II, the second chapter and unfinished revolution.

  10. If there is an uprising of the people they should do it similar to the french revolution. These power people who wont change it because they want to keep their corruption intact should be guilotined. Take everything off their failies & give it back to the people of this country. the reason your education levels are so low in this country is the powers that be know if you keep the people uneducated you can do what you want. Its easy to make it simple to steal money from the country & its easy to protect those ill gotten monies. Thats why you have a law that says no one without the written permission of the account holder is allowed to inquire how much you have in your dollar account. They made that law to protect the money they steal. Let all these government officials know they are there to seve the public not there to serve themselves to the publics money.

  11. Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

    Congress is a Damaged Institution so with the Executive who hangs on to their Pork Barrel ( CWT,PDAF and DAP. I call it BOCHA A DOUBLE-TRIFFLE DEAD MEAT). The lawmakers always think of their own interest not only abolishing all kind of BOCHA but breaks the 1987 Cory Constitution by refusing to enact an enabling law that will BAN FAMILY POLITICAL DYNASTIES.
    How can we join/help People’s Initiative, CJ Puno, to avoid Military Intervation???

  12. florentino maddara on

    i also want to join the people’s campaign initiative against pdaf and dap by hon puno if your paper will publish the details on how to join this. thanks and more power to your paper.

  13. ang malaking problema sa People’s Initiative, dadaan pa yan sa Comelec. Naiimagine nyo ba na magiging maayos at matino ang kalalabasan nyan? E galamay ng Malacanang ang matandang antuking chairman nyan.

    Kelangan natin e gumalaw ng tulad ng nangyari sa Thailand. Ihinto ang pagbabayad ng buwis. Palit constitution, palit gobyerno. Wag asahan na aayos pa ang mga nakaupo dahil kitang kita naman na walang interes mga yan na palitan ang status quo.

  14. We feel more secure with the peoples initiative outcome rather than gamble with the super greedy corrupt Government officials or politicians. Only want to take it all the shares of the pie, nothing given to the people whose sweat and blood of poor Juan dela Cruz people’s taxpayer money. Embezzlement, or misuse. We support the peoples initiative under the tutelage of former SC CJ. Puno.

  15. The pork barrel scandal in the country is also viewed keenly from outside, not for any personal interests, but for love of country. I hope the powers that be should not take for granted the gravity of the problem, especially so it’s those who are expected to protect the people are the alleged culprits. I hope something is done to satisfy the people now that this is in the open and even admitted by some of the ‘players’. It is a very serious problem which necessitates immediate serious solution. It’s been too long; it’s been so much money; and, it’s been so much suffering!

  16. when is this initiative start? and how to join… i think most of the people are already tired of being played and push aside by these politico-crocodiles the people have elected to represent their interest (not only of the few and favored). i have paid millions of pesos in taxes from my salaries, wages, commissions, etc. and have yet to feel and earn the benefits of the taxes i paid and continue to pay (done automatically). we have very poor community and road lighting, bad roads, chaotic traffic, sloppy services rendered by arrogant (if not dishonest) government employees, increasing crimes, relentless corruptions, moronic government officers who are addicts to media exposure and many more countless anomalies like a bottomless pit. we have substandard living standard (based on national and international norm) which is deteriorating year by year. and on top of these, we have a president who is addicted to spending money that is not his according to his whims and caprices and for the benefits of his cohorts…

    • You have a President that is addicted to using money for his own advantage?” Sigurado ka dito? Bakit noon palang walang pagkilos na ganito sa mga panahon ng mga retired Generals kuno. Hanggang langit ang galit kay Pnoy dahil sa inggit kasi si Pnoy has the courage to shake them and rattle them about misusing monies in government, ngayon binabaliktad ninyo. Anyway, meron din pong mga taong nagmamasid sa mga kaganapan at hindi po lahat ng tao eh sang ayon sa inyo. Kung sa tingin ninyo mga pinoys kayo na magiging maayos ang lahat without President Aquino, at iluklok ninyo kung sino ang gusto ninyo, sige go ahead, Rest In Peace Philippines ang resulta nito, kasi bumalik na naman kayo sa dati, sunod sunoran sa mga Politiko. Baon sa utang at korupsyon. Good luck po.

    • Mr. Puno is creating a scenario which is advocating violence against the same government he previously upholds when he was still the SC Chief Justice. He is talking and accusing all the legislators in general.

      As a SC justice, he should understand that from the hundreths of legislators in Congress, a few of them where charged of corruptions. For the total number of Senators, only 3 were 100% identified as part of Napoles Crocodile
      Faked NGO’s.
      Mr. Puno, we may not be all lawyers, we may not even have a relatives who became CJ of the Supreme Court, but we are not idiots likes you who are posturing to be the depender of the constitutions for infact, you are just a hungry son of a gun.

    • The President is doing the best to his country by alleviating peoples lives from all walks of life. He is not spending the taxpayers money for nothing. In
      the history of the Philippines who was dubbed as the Sick man of Asia for a decades, collecting trillions remitted to the BIR, posting a GDP which is the total of all previous presidents combined, acquiring two ships that can strenghthen and safeguard Phil. territory, establishing a cash transfer program for the very poor family, eating in a fast food when he travels to New York instead to Waldorf Asturia as compared by lavish lifestyle of GMA, you people are blinded by facts and anger because of his Daan Matuwid and Non WangWang mentality. I hope, majority of the Filipino citizens from all walks of life get out to the street for a humanitarian cause, shouting, yelling and asking the President Pinoy Aquino to serve for one more year so he can thoroughly cleanse the dirty, corrupts govt officials who were there before he was even elected as President. Amend the Constitution or Declare Martial Law so he can shut off all your big mouths who advocates nothing but Chaos.

    • The preconceived idea of former Chief Justice Puno that a People’s Initiative (PI) could be one of the last resorts to regain the legislator’s moral authority to be the guardian of the people’s money must not be taken lightly. However, majority of the country’s registered voters are familiar with the provisions of PI that “10% of the total number of the registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters thereof shall sign a petition for the purpose and register the same with the Commission.” Ten percent is 5million and 3% of which are representative of every legislative district. The path to PI can be compared to a ‘dead end road’ if registered voters will consider the time spent to brainstorm its mechanism to include # of volunteers, coordination, transport, food, lodging & time needed to collect 5 million signatures. The same considerations were possibly used by the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) why they asked President Aquino III to abolish the presidential pork. “The Pulse Asia survey also showed that, even with the President’s announcement to do away with PDAF, 45 percent are still calling for its abolition.” Rampant vote buying in every election thus the people can’t wait ‘til the 2016 election. Most corrupt candidates are loaded with money to pay P500 to P1000 for needed votes to win. So what’s the only way out to end pork barrel as we know it. PI, People Power Revolution i.e. EDSA III or the military as guardian of the people are the three options… What is preferable for the people?

    • virginia guevara on

      well said ed1151! People have now reach the point of Suicidal Resort because they dont know who to believe anymore!