"Tighten the PORK rules!"
Jumping the gun on the lawmakers, Malacañang is submitting to Congress next week “policy recommendations” to tighten up the rules on the disbursement of funds from the graft-tainted pork barrel.
The measures include limiting the menu of projects that can be funded by pork, accreditation of the civil service organizations by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and limiting the number of implementing agencies, according to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
But if Sen. Franklin Drilon, touted to be elected Senate President in the 16th Congress, would have his way, the pork barrel could simply be taken out of the national budget instead of passing a new law that would abolish the program, now at the center of a scandal involving P10 billion in patronage funds allegedly siphoned off by a businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles, through bogus NGOs using her extensive connections in Congress and in the government.
Next Tuesday, a day after his address to a joint session of Congress, President Aquino will submit to Congress the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget for 2014, which contains a separate item worth P27-billion for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel. From Inquirer
The term pork barrel politics usually refers to spending which is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. In the popular 1863 story "The Children of the Public", Edward Everett Hale used the term pork barrel as a homely metaphor for any form of public spending to the citizenry. After the American Civil War, however, the term came to be used in a derogatory sense.
Typically, "pork" involves funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers. Public works projects, certain national defense spending projects, and agricultural subsidies are the most commonly cited examples.
Citizens Against Government Waste outlines seven criteria by which spending can be classified as "pork":
Requested by only one chamber of Congress
Not specifically authorized
Not competitively awarded
Not requested by the President
Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding
Not the subject of Congressional hearings
Serves only a local or special interest.
from Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino will keep pork barrel allocations but will make sure they are equitably distributed and wisely spent.
“It can be used as an equalizing factor. Everybody is entitled to his share. Nobody will be deprived of (his) share,” Mr. Aquino said in his first press briefing yesterday.
Pork barrel funds are widely considered a major source of corruption, and a spiteful Arroyo administration had deprived opposition lawmakers of their share.
But unlike his predecessor, Mr. Aquino assured all the 270 members of the House of Representatives and the 23 senators that they would get their allocations. A House member is entitled to P70 million a year in pork funds – officially called Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – while each senator gets P200 million annually.
MANILA, Philippines — A Liberal Party (LP) official on Thursday maintained that there was “no politics” in the alleged P10 billion “pork barrel scam”.
Western Samar Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary-general of the LP, said that the issue was a mere smokescreen for a “criminal case.”
“Politics definitely has nothing to do with it,” he said.
Sarmiento refuted statements that the pork barrel scam was an administration-backed demolition job against members of the opposition.
“This is a simple case of a criminal partnership that went awry–a simple case of people or groups of people fighting over their loot. I will not even be surprised if it will turn out that some of these senators and congressmen who are being dragged into this mess are victims themselves,” he said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and several House members said that the menu for the allocation of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” was “quite strict” as it had been reduced several times in the 15th Congress.
Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo said that Belmonte and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad wanted to make sure that there were measures in place to ensure that the PDAF could not be abused.
This was what Sarmiento reiterated, saying that the practice of allocating lawmakers’ pork barrel to non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) was barred since 2011.
“It was under the Aquino administration that this dubious practice of allocating PDAF to NGOs and POs was stopped. It was removed from the menu of projects which are eligible for PDAF support,” said the LP official.
Betrayal, rich-poor cousin squabbles – it's another real-life family drama playing out in prime time.
Accused pork barrel scam artist Janet Lim-Napoles had dismissed the whistleblower of the alleged swindle, Benhur K. Luy, as being the conniving son of her maid.
But as it turns out, according to JLN Corporation's articles of incorporation which GMA News Research was able to obtain, the maid, Gertrude, was an incorporator and a director of the company that allegedly took home billions in pork funds from lawmakers over a period of ten years.
Even Gertrude's daughter, Annabelle, Benhur's sister, was named a director and incorporator, and both were so from 1999 to 2000.
Gertrude, in a report run by Philippine Daily Inquirer, said she and her daughter were unaware that they were incorporators of JLN.
The pork-barrel scam was allegedly carried out by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, whose JLN Group of Companies was reportedly tapped for government-funded "ghost projects" that were allegedly used for kickbacks between contractors and lawmakers.
During a "24 Oras" report, Napoles admitted that Luy was also a relative, though a very distant one. “Alam niyo naman sa probinsya,” said Napoles.
As to whether she randomly chose people within her circle to be partners in alleged bogus organizations, Napoles said: "Madaling magbintang. Pawang kasinungalingan itong ginagawa nila."
— GMA News