Government defends use of Malampaya fund, PSF-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
THERE is nothing unconstitutional with the government's use of the proceeds from the Malampaya gas project off Palawan and the President's Social Fund (PSF), the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said.
The OSG told the Supreme Court these funds are still accounted for as it junked the contention of former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica that the Malampaya fund and PSF didn’t pass congressional scrutiny.
"Clearly, there is no undue delegation of legislative powers to the President because the disbursement and utilization of both the Malampaya fund and the PSF are subject to well-defined standards in the use of public funds for public purposes. Far from being a delegation 'running riot', the exercise of presidential discretion is safely 'canalized within the banks that keep it from overflowing'", the comment read.
Two weeks ago, the SC limited Malacañang's disbursement of billions of pesos in Malampaya fund to energy resource development and exploitation projects in response to Belgica's claims that the money can be used for non-energy programs.
However, the Palace said eight energy-related projects in 2011 and two last year were implemented using P15.25 billion from the Malampaya fund. These include subsidies for jeepney and tricycle drivers under the Pantawid Pasada program and the electrification of small villages.
The PSF, meanwhile, is sourced from the income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which is utilized for priority projects of the President not funded under the national budget.
"[T]he only discretion delegated to the President is that of choosing which among the enumerated infrastructure and socio-civic projects will be funded out of the PSF and the location of said projects," the OSG said.
The OSG's position was part of the government’s reply to the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of lawmakers. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)