Pinoys think pork barrel misuse continues under Aquino-A A +A
Monday, October 14, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Majority of Filipinos believe the misuse of pork barrel funds has continued under President Benigno Aquino III despite his promise of cleansing the public sector of graft and corruption when he took power in 2010, a survey said.
Nearly seven (67 percent) out of 10 Filipinos surveyed by Pulse Asia last month said misuse is still present, a view shared by most Filipinos across geographic areas and economic classes.
"Filipinos belonging to the best-off Class ABC (78 percent) are most inclined to believe that the reported anomalous use of the PDAF (priority development assistance fund) during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has continued under the present administration of President Aquino," Pulse Asia said Monday.
Only a third of survey respondents think that the alleged abuse in the use of pork barrel system has stopped under the Aquino government.
Aquino earlier called for the abolition of pork barrel and promised to run after those who pocketed taxpayers’ money, a message welcomed by 63 percent of Filipinos.
Protesters calling for the abolition of pork barrel since late August, however, found the President's response not good enough, as lawmakers can still propose infrastructure projects for their districts.
The controversy earlier pushed Congress to re-channel the P25-billion PDAF to government agencies next year.
Pulse Asia had its first survey on public sentiment on PDAF in October 2004.
Between October 2004 and September 2013, the independent pollster noted a "significant increase" in the percentage of Filipinos who consider the PDAF as a source of bribes and commissions in projects (from 16 percent to 27 percent) while 32 percent said it is used by politicians to get elected.
However, there are declines in the percentage of Filipinos who say the President uses pork barrel to secure the support of lawmakers for his legislative agenda (from 23 percent to 30 percent), or that it can be used as a development tool (from 19 percent to 27 percent).
Almost half of the Filipinos (45 percent) favor the abolition of PDAF, up 15 percent from 2004. Support for its retention dipped by six percentage points (from 16 percent to 10 percent), 20 percent wanted a stricter process to avoid any anomalous, and 25 percent felt the PDAF should be reduced.
Nine out of 10 Filipinos have heard, read, or watched something about pork barrel, a huge leap from 66 percent in October 2004.
Among the events that took place during the survey period (September 14 to 27) were the filing of tax evasion cases against alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles and her husband, and the speech of Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who exposed the additional P50-million fund given to senators who voted for the conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012.
The additional fund turned out to be the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), where lawmakers were also given the chance to push for projects needed to stimulate the economy. Critics treat DAP as another form of PDAF.
The constitutionality of PDAF and DAP were challenged before the Supreme Court (SC). The SC, which held debates on the petitions, then suspended the release of PDAF for the rest of the year.
The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 and above. It has a margin of error of ±3 percent at the 95 percent confidence. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)