SC summons COA chief to pork barrel debate-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
COMMISSION on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan was directed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday to act as resource person on the oral argument on the constitutionality of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) on October 8.
Her office's special audit on the disbursement of the PDAF from 2007 to 2009 resulted in the filing of cases against lawmakers who allegedly conspired with businesswoman Janet Napoles to pocket pork barrel through ghost projects.
Tan is considered amicus curiae (friend of the court) to help the SC in resolving the issues surrounding the legality of PDAF.
Apart from the lawyers of three petitioners and government, expected to appear in the debate are representatives from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Congress, who would be able to field questions from the justices regarding the budget process and its implementation.
Both parties have 30 minutes each to present their arguments on several issues such as whether the PDAF violate the separation of powers and violate the accountability provisions of the Constitution.
As for the use of the Malampaya gas funds, the SC asked the parties to clarify if the fund can be used by the President to finance infrastructure and/or socio-civic projects throughout the Philippines and if there is an undue delegation of legislative power.
Congress' request to partially lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) to allow the release of the PDAF for existing scholarships and medical assistance will also be tackled in the hearing. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)