Bobby Tañada and I had pork in our time. So there was in his revered father’s time.
Well, pork was not and is not toxic per se. It must have been when Bobby and I were summoned to Malacañang by PNoy on Edca on July 1 last, when my attention was called to Sec. 49 of E.O. No. 292, the Administrative Code of 1987, which says:
“Authority to Use Savings for Certain Purposes. – Savings in the appropriations provided in the General Appropriations Act may be used for the settlement of the following obligations incurred during a current fiscal year or previous fiscal years as may be approved by the Secretary in accordance with Rules and procedures as may be approved by the President: . . .”
“9) Priority [that word]activities that will promote the economic well-being of the nation, including food production, agrarian reform, energy development, disaster relief, and rehabilitation.
“10) Repair, improvement and renovation of government buildings and infrastructure and other capital assets damaged by natural calamities.” (Book VI, Chap. 5, pp. 430-31)”
I casually looked at same but redoubtable Raissa Robles, not the Fire!-Aim!-Ready! type of journalist, scrutinized same.
The test is good faith on the part of Malacañang, relying on EO 292. If others at the receiving end misspends, say, in funding a spurious NGO, would that be reckless imprudence resulting in graft or plunder?
I went last July 1 to Malacañang on EDCA, and advised: have the Senate ratify it. A majority of our people seem to favor it, given China’s bullying, and will go along with PNoy and Jojobama.
On pork, I support PNoy and Butch as long as there is no proof that a singkong duling went to their pockets. I do not know that Butch “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused and malversed public funds through executive issuances and the programs implemented by him as Secretary of the DBM.” The reported complainant cited Justice Brion’s startling prejudgment of Butch. A Justice, of all people, it seems to me, should render a verdict after all the evidence is in. Like Sen. Drilon asserting that he properly used his P100M. A Cebu solon did not, as to her P15M, so it is alleged.
Evil or criminal genius PNoy could not be. That would apply to Macoy and Imelda, who in 1968, opened accounts in Switzerland using William Saunders and Jane Ryan as their noms de kurakot. Gross bad faith. PNoy filching a red cent? Nope. Nor Chief Justice (CJ) Meilou Sereno, who, like her predecessors since 1984, has sole say on what to do with the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) stripped from the hides of litigants. For many years now, I have asked my studes to report on the JDF; the SC and the Commission on Audit (COA) have stonewalled.
Last Tuesday I wrote my esteemed pal, Teddy Te, SC spokesman:
“I have again asked my studes for years to obtain proof of compliance with what PD No. 1949 of 1984, on the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) requires: quarterly reporting to, among others, executive judges.
“Makati’s court house is OK; Manila’s, where I was, before I had a series of hospitalizations, MeTc, Br. 19, please try to visit. How much has Manila collected since 1984? Pasay, I had to go to City Hall, walk through to get to the Hall of Justice, with my cane. No elevator so I had to struggle up and down and sidle through narrow dark corridors.
“We may not question the sole authority of the Chief Justice (CJ) to decide what to do with the money even if it is hard to reconcile with the 1987 Constitution on the legislature’s power of the purse. PD No. 1949 may be kept, even reinforced, but Congress and Malacañang must be told what is done with money stripped from the hides of litigants.
“We cannot bring a foreign lawyer to City Hall (Manila, say, Branch 19 above). Baka matetano. QC Hall of Justice, files on corridors and stairways. No majesty of the law at all.
“But my simple focus is how much has been collected in Manila since 1984 and what has been done with it? My assignment to my studes – to get a mid-term passing grade, bring to class a hard copy of any understandable quarterly report or accounting – on what has happened to Manila’s share of the JDF.
“The CJ has the exclusive power to authorize disbursements of the Fund. The COA through the Supreme Court Auditor shall quarterly audit its receipts, revenues, uses, disbursements and expenditures and shall submit the appropriate written report to the COA Chair and to the CJ, copy furnished the CA Presiding Justice and all Executive Judges. Doveryai non proveryai—trust but verify.
“I fully trust the CJ—more power—but I verify.”
I caused to be copied the Court of Appeals Presiding Justice and Manila Makati and Pasay RTC and MeTc Executive Judges and in particular Manila MeTC-19, to help alleviate their working conditions.
The bizarre pork happenings may yet end up in finding people guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in graft or plunder as no one can really oversee all that subalterns or fake NGOs do with the people’s billions. So good people who are overworked, overcriticized, underpaid and under appreciated may find themselves Ombudsmanned at the end of the day. But I still echo what they say in the US: good men should go to the ministry; the best ones should go to politics, not frats.
Oh, in the news again. Upping penalties does not deter. Quick and sure punishment can. Lenny Villa was killed in frat hazing in 1991. We are now on our 24th year, in the SC. My client, Zos Mendoza, thrice cleared, still twists in the wind. A motion for recon has been pending since early 2012 in this weird case of Multiple Jeopardy. The SolGen should move to recon the DAP ruling, not only the acquittal in frat hazing.