Palace: Groups out to destroy Aquino using 'pork' issue-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
MALACANANG disclosed Sunday that some groups of people used the issue on pork barrel so that the public would turn against President Benigno Aquino III.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan insisted that Aquino has no "presidential pork" contrary to the claims of some groups.
"There is no presidential pork. It's a label that some groups out there would like to push upon the citizenry to turn citizens against the President and to divert attention away from the real issues at hand," she said.
She explained that the "lump sums" that the Office of the President has been receiving were essentially the special purpose funds (SPF), which by law are allotted for particular things.
"For example, in cases of the calamity fund—and that has been a subject of a discussion because of recent developments—there are uses for the calamity funds which cannot be anticipated," Valte said, adding that through the calamity fund, the government could quickly address the needs of the citizens affected by the catastrophes.
She said that the government exercises accountability and transparency in the disbursement of the SPF.
"The special purpose funds, are also subject to the yearly—annual audit of the Commission on Audit," she explained.
Valte, however, refused to name those groups who were out to misdirect the public.
She said that Aquino was ready to face all moves against him by these groups.
"I won't mention (their names). But, again, in the words of the President, we are disturbing many rice bowls," she said.
Aquino has ordered an investigation into the alleged multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam. A number of people, including lawmakers, were charged with plunder and other cases before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the alleged fund scandal.
Valte also said that Malacanang was not worried on the so-called "people's initiative" being spearheaded by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno against all forms of pork barrel.
Puno's group has been pushing for the people's initiative for passage of a new law that would scrap the pork barrel.
"I understand that they are already galvanizing efforts to garner support for the people’s initiative against the PDAF as initiated by the group of the former Chief Justice Puno and, of course, they are free to do that. In any democracy that is part of our Constitution, they are perfectly free to pursue any means or measures that they feel would push their advocacies forward," Valte said. (SDR/Sunnex)