News Flash

October 07, 2015, Wednesday
  • Ex-Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado admits the Reyes brothers are his friends. 8 hours ago |
  • DOJ to see if Ex-Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado violated provisions in the Witness Protection Program. 8 hours ago |
  • DOJ to release a second report on Mamasapano incident. 8 hours ago |
  • Comelec estimates over 2 million voters have yet to register. 8 hours ago |
  • House leadership wants to approve the 2016 proposed budget by Friday. 8 hours ago |
  • House Speaker Sonny Belmonte urges Pres. Aquino to certify as urgent the bill on proposed P 3-T nat’l budget for 2016. 8 hours ago |
  • Sen. Gringo Honasan says he is talking with his family about his next political move. 8 hours ago |
  • Honasan asks UNA for more time to decide on whether or not he will agree to become Binay’s running mate. 8 hours ago |
  • UNA formally asks Sen. Gringo Honasan to be Binay’s running mate. 8 hours ago |
  • TESDA Head Joel Villanueva confirms he is running for senate. 8 hours ago |
  • Sandra Cam says Ex-Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado had called up his business associates, Reyes brothers, while they were in Phuket. 10 hours ago |
  • Duterte announces the arrest of 2 suspects involved in the abduction of 3 foreigners & 1 Filipina from Samal Island. 10 hours ago |
  • Ex-Makati Vice Mayor Mercado says he will leave the country & seek asylum in Switzerland if Binay will win the presidency. 15 hours ago |
  • Sen. Escudero says the presence of many vice presidential bets will result in active discussions on platforms during the campaign. 15 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero sends his greetings to Sen. Bongbong Marcos who announced his entry into the vice pres’l race. 15 hours ago |
  • DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario tells China it should join the deliberations on sea disputes in the arbitral tribunal. 15 hours ago |
  • DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario tells China at UN Gen. Assembly to stop the use of coercion & intimidation in the West PH Sea. 15 hours ago |
  • MRT passengers say beep cards are not the answer to MRT’s perennial lack of train problem. 15 hours ago |
  • Three top generals in AFP promoted to next rank. 15 hours ago |
  • Sen. Bong Revilla allowed to undergo post-dental surgery. 16 hours ago |
  • Long lines of MRT commuters stretched from Trinoma Mall to SM North Edsa in QC on Tuesday morning. 16 hours ago |
  • Abu Sayyaf suspected to be behind the attempt to bomb a military camp in Jolo, Sulu. 16 hours ago |
  • Marines foiled an attempt to bomb a military camp in Jolo, Sulu on Monday night. 16 hours ago |
  • 6 persons face illegal possession of ammunition raps after being caught at NAIA supposedly with bullets in their baggage. 16 hours ago |
  • 2 injured in a collision between a truck and a car along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. 16 hours ago |
  • Couple found dead inside their shanty in Payatas, Quezon City. 16 hours ago |
  • Ex-Makati VM Mercado’s new plunder case vs. Binay is in connection w/ the alleged questionable land deal between BSP & Alphaland Corp. 16 hours ago |
  • Ex-Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado files a fifth plunder case vs. VP Binay at Ombudsman. 16 hours ago |
  • COA Acting Chief Heidi Mendoza’s appointment as UN internal oversight office head will last for 5 years. 16 hours ago |
  • UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon announces the appointment of COA Acting Chief Heidi Mendoza as UN internal oversight office head. 16 hours ago |

Pork barrel king

By The Standard | Oct. 07, 2013 at 12:01am
2013_oct07_editorialThe President last week chafed at a new moniker that an irate public had bestowed upon him: Pork Barrel King.

Before a gathering of Christian businessmen, the man who likes to remind us that we are his boss spluttered in disbelief: “We have already done a lot and then they will call me Pork Barrel King.”

Are Mr. Aquino’s superiors— that is another word for “boss” —being unduly harsh? Let us examine the circumstances behind his coronation.

Pork barrel is the common name given to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a discretionary amount allotted to each congressman (P70 million a year) and senator (P200 million) to fund projects of their choosing. For 2014, before the pork barrel scandal showed that some lawmakers may have diverted hundreds of millions of pesos into their own pockets, these congressional funds accounted for roughly P25 billion—certainly a princely sum.

But the royal treasure trove of discretionary funds lay elsewhere. Hidden from public view until the pork barrel scandal spread in unexpected directions, Mr. Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) quietly gave the President access to more than P137 billion in off-budget funds to do with as he pleased.

Of these, Budget Secretary has admitted that 9 percent or P12.3 billion went to projects identified by senators and congressmen, over and above their PDAF allocations.

Even more peculiar is that all congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint against Mr. Aquino’s political nemesis, then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2011, and all senators who voted to convict the hapless magistrate in 2012 received millions in extra allocations. Those who did not sign the complaint and those who voted to acquit Corona received no such funding.

A coincidence? Mr. Aquino believes we are all gullible enough to think so. By way of “disproving” allegations of bribery, he says the payments were made months after the fact—forgetting that deferred payment is a common mode of doing business—legal or otherwise.

Some of the best legal minds in the country now say the President’s DAP, in fact, is in itself illegal because there is no enabling law that allows the Mr. Aquino to take funds from various line agencies by calling them “savings” and spend them wherever he pleases. The President’s assumption that he can take these funds away from their congressionally approved uses and apply them elsewhere is absurd, the legal experts say. Certainly, the Constitution does not allow him to transfer these funds to lawmakers as a reward for services rendered.

With his crimes catching up to him, Mr. Aquino tried to distract us with his shopworn tactic of pointing a finger at his predecessor, who has been in detention since 2011 and who had absolutely nothing to do with DAP.

Given the President’s tarnished record, the more accurate designation for him might be “Bribing, Criminal and Finger-Pointing Pork Barrel King.” But there is something to be said for brevity, and Mr. Aquino should be grateful for small blessings. All we have to add is, if the greasy crown fits, then he should wear it.
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