SC justice: Identification of projects by lawmakers unconstitutional-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
A SUPREME Court justice said Tuesday the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) is unconstitutional for allowing lawmakers to identify projects for their districts and constituencies.
During the oral argument on PDAF's constitutionality, Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe said it is not for Congress to do the President's job.
Congress has since agreed to re-align the multi-billion PDAF to several government agencies in light of reports that some lawmakers received kickbacks for channeling their pork barrel to bogus foundations run by businesswoman Janet Napoles.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, on the other hand, pointed out that President does not have wide discretion over the use of the royalties from the Malampaya natural gas project off Palawan.
He said the provision of Presidential Decree 910 that allows the President to use the fund for non-energy related projects was made at a time when the Chief Executive still has legislative power.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos, who padlocked Congress when he placed the country under Martial Law, issued the decree in 1976.
Marcos' ouster in 1986 gave way to a new constitution the following year that re-established Congress.
"So PD 910 is now facially unconstitutional," said Carpio.
Meanwhile, the fourth petition against the Aquino administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was filed with the High Court.
In its petition, the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) asked the SC to order the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to name the recipients of the DAP and order the confiscation of recipient's assets that were acquired through DAP.
The seized assets should then be reverted to the National Treasury, stated the petition supported by former University of the Philippines Law Dean Froilan Bacungan and ex-National Treasurer Leonor Briones.
The petition also echoed the arguments of other three petitioners who said that DAP is illegal for lack of blessing from Congress.
An oral argument on the DAP, which the government supposedly used to stimulate the economy last year, was set on October 22. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)