By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Jan. 13, 2014
LOS ANGELES – At the Filipino Community’s “Talakayan”, a newly launched weekly forum discussing Philippine and US issues, “pork barrel” is once again a hot topic as several lawmakers have realigned their pork funds.
“Corruption brought about by PDAF will never go away because it’s deeply engrained in the Philippine government. ,” Art Garcia of US Action Against Pork said.
The moves come as the Supreme Court ruled the pork barrel system, which had been allegedly misused by lawmakers, as unconstitutional.
However the Priority Development Assistance Funds for 2014 were already approved.
While they agree with Malacanang’s clearance that the move by nine senators to realign the funds is legal, anti-pork activists are wary of some of the motives of the P1.8 billion move.
“I think the moment a lawmaker realigns his budget allocation it is always for personal interest, and we don’t trust them to do that,” Dr. Marc Caratao, Talakayan moderator, said.
Senators Miriam Defensor, Ralph Recto, JV Ejercito and siblings Peter and Pia Cayetano realigned their funds to the calamity funds.
Senators Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Antonio Trillanes gave theirs to various, military, education, social welfare, and other various government-run bodies.
However the transaction Filipinos are questioning the most is Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s move to give P100 million in pork funds to Manila, where his father, former president Joseph Estrada, is mayor.
Both the father and son have defended the realignment saying the money is not going to the former president but rather to the city and various programs to serve its residents.
In the meantime, activists say they will remain vigilant especially as they fight to have the presidential pork scrapped as well.
“The anti-PDAF movement is not finished yet because the Supreme Court has not yet decided on the DAP,” Garcia said.
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