Sotto foregoes ‘pork’ for rest of his term-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
SENATOR Vicente Sotto III announced Wednesday that he is forgoing his pork barrel funds for this year and in the remaining years of his term.
"I write to formally inform you that I will forego the allocation of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) intended for my office in the succeeding years of my tenure as Senator of the Republic," said Sotto reading a letter he submitted to Senate President Franklin Drilon.
"My decision is intended to forestall any further controversy that may arise in the use of the PDAF, particularly that it is a vehicle for corruption and that it is used to fund 'ghost' projects," he said in his privilege speech.
He said P50 million of his remaining allocations for the year million should be allocated for all specialty and some regional hospitals of the government while another P50 million will be allocated for the University of the Philippines and other state colleges and universities for poor but deserving students.
Sotto made the announcement amid ongoing probe into the multi-billion peso pork barrel fund mess involving some senators and congressmen.
The legality of the PDAF of lawmakers is now being challenged at the Supreme Court through a petition filed by the Social Justice Society (SJS) where the Senate and House of Representatives were ordered to comment within 10 days.
Drilon said the SC has discretion to decide on the legality of the PDAF.
"We will submit to the discretion of the court based on the allegations of the petition and prevailing jurisprudence," Drilon said in a statement.
"It is the Senate and the House acting as collegial bodies that actually decide on the matter of appropriating funds. In any case, we will submit to the discretion of the court," he added.
Drilon said they will ask the SC to make its ruling on the PDAF petition immediately before the national budget for 2014 is submitted to the plenary for deliberation and approval.
"The Senate only hopes for what is best and that good sense will prevail," he said. (CPT/Sunnex)