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Philippines: Time to punish pork plunderers and reform the budget system

by Citizens Action Party (Akbayan) Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at 3:19 AM

Akbayan Partylist welcomes the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as well as all forms of congressional insertions with the aim of creating lump sum funds for projects primarily determined by lawmakers.

Philippines: Time to...
5-senators-23-congressmen-pork-barrel-philippines.jpg, image/jpeg, 288x400

The decision rectifies the high court’s past decisions on the pork barrel and officially and legally abolishes the PDAF. It also brings to an end the lawmakers’ wide discretion, control and entitlement in the allocation and disbursement of the people’s resources. At a time when the country is recuperating from a major calamity, the decision is truly an uplifting triumph of reform.

Akbayan Party congratulates the Filipino people for this outstanding victory. We especially commend the hundreds of thousands of vigilant and patriotic citizens who trooped to the August 26 Million People March in Luneta and served as important catalysts in the creation of a broad, multi-class and multi-sectoral movement against the pork barrel and corruption. This is certainly a milestone in our journey towards a future free from traditional and patronage politics.

Prosecute the plunderers

Now that the battle against the PDAF has been won, we urge the public to use this victory as a springboard to press for the prosecution and incarceration of all the public officials who have plundered the people’s money. While the momentum is on the side of reform, the people cannot afford to be complacent and let the plunderers get off the hook. The Ombudsman has already pushed the filing of plunder charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada and several others linked to the grave abuse of the PDAF. A second batch of charges will be filed soon. Let us not waver. Let the chips fall where they may. With the end of PDAF let us also bring to an end the plundering and abusive reign of the corrupt public officials in the government.

Reform the budget, remove all Marcosian features

We also enjoin the public to use this victory to push for more radical reforms to fundamentally transform and democratize our budget system and sweep away traditional and patronage politics. While the people have succeeded in significantly clipping the lawmakers’ unwarranted discretion and entitlement over the budget with the abolition of PDAF, the same reform must be effected in the Executive branch. Let us remember that the budget system borrowed heavily from the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree No. 1177 or the ‘Budget Reform Decree of 1977 and as such, reflects the Martial Law predisposition to favor the Executive at the expense of the Legislative in the exercise of powers to determine the budget process. We have seen how the previous administration abused this predisposition to the extreme.

Supreme Court and the JDF

We echo the same sentiment to the Supreme Court as we urge it to extend the spirit of its decision to its own backyard as it exercises self-introspection with regards to the use of its own Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and other funds under its control and discretion. The high court must ensure utmost transparency and eliminate unwarranted discretion in the use of the fund so that broad reforms in our judicial system can likewise be pursued. With all branches of government from the legislative, executive and judiciary being held accountable, we can now look to a brighter future ahead.

Lastly, Akbayan Party reiterates its call for the immediate passage of House Bill No. 2256 (Savings and Augmentation Bill), HB 2257 (Budget Impoundment Control Bill) and HB 3128 (Budget Reform Bill) to strongly regulate the executive’s fiscal powers and further democratize the budget system. We also call for the swift passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. By passing these important reform bills, the Aquino government will not only effectively consolidate the people’s political goodwill and strong anti-corruption sentiments; it will also ensure that the victory won by the people through the recent Supreme Court decision will be lasting and irreversible.

https://akbayan.org.ph

Akbayan lauds SC decision on PDAF, urges people to push for deeper reforms to sweep away patronage politics

Akbayan Party welcomes the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as well as all forms of congressional insertions with the aim of creating lump sum funds for projects primarily determined by lawmakers. The decision rectifies the high court’s past decisions on the pork barrel and officially and legally abolishes the PDAF. It also brings to an end the lawmakers’ wide discretion, control and entitlement in the allocation and disbursement of the people’s resources. At a time when the country is recuperating from a major calamity, the decision is truly an uplifting triumph of reform.

Akbayan Party congratulates the Filipino people for this outstanding victory. We especially commend the hundreds of thousands of vigilant and patriotic citizens who trooped to the August 26 Million People March in Luneta and served as important catalysts in the creation of a broad, multi-class and multi-sectoral movement against the pork barrel and corruption. This is certainly a milestone in our journey towards a future free from traditional and patronage politics.

"Radical reforms"

We also enjoin the public to use this victory to push for more radical reforms to fundamentally transform and democratize our budget system and sweep away traditional and patronage politics. While the people have succeeded in significantly clipping the lawmakers’ unwarranted discretion and entitlement over the budget with the abolition of PDAF, the same reform must be effected in the Executive branch. Let us remember that the budget system borrowed heavily from the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree No. 1177 or the ‘Budget Reform Decree of 1977 and as such, reflects the Martial Law predisposition to favor the Executive at the expense of the Legislative in the exercise of powers to determine the budget process. We have seen how the previous administration abused this predisposition to the extreme.

Supreme Court and the JDF

We echo the same sentiment to the Supreme Court as we urge it to extend the spirit of its decision to its own backyard as it exercises self-introspection with regards to the use of its own Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and other funds under its control and discretion. The high court must ensure utmost transparency in the use of the fund so that broad reforms in our judicial system can likewise be pursued. With all branches of government from the legislative, executive and judiciary being held accountable, we can now look to a brighter future ahead.

Lastly, Akbayan Party reiterates its call for the immediate passage of House Bill No. 2256 (Savings and Augmentation Bill), HB 2257 (Budget Impoundment Control Bill) and HB 3128 (Budget Reform Bill) to strongly regulate the executive’s fiscal powers and further democratize the budget system. We also call for the swift passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. By passing these bills, the Aquino government will not only effectively consolidate the people’s political goodwill and strong anti-corruption sentiments, it will also ensure that the victory won by the people today through the recent Supreme Court decision will be lasting and irreversible.

https://akbayan.org.ph

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Philippines

by Citizens Action Party (Akbayan) Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at 3:19 AM

Philippines...
2013-akbayan-partylist.jpg, image/jpeg, 309x206

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Philippines

by Citizens Action Party (Akbayan) Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at 3:19 AM

Philippines...
2013-alliance-progressive-labor-apl-sentro.jpg, image/jpeg, 384x255

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Philippines

by Citizens Action Party (Akbayan) Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at 3:19 AM

Philippines...
2013-pork-barrel-philippines-napoles.jpg, image/jpeg, 275x183

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