Senate defers stand on pork barrel abolition-A A +A
Thursday, October 24, 2013
SENATORS were given until November 11 to submit their written positions on the proposed abolition of priority development assistance fund (PDAF), Senate President Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
The positions will then be consolidated in a report by the Senate finance committee and will be routed for signatures of senators before the resumption of session on November 18.
Drilon said no consensus was reached after Wednesday’s caucus although he felt that majority of his colleagues were in favor of abandoning their PDAF. Scrapping the senators’ pork barrel would result in the P4.8-billion reduction in the P2.268-trillion national budget for next year.
“We will see what happens after all the written positions are submitted. As I said, while there was no vote, my assessment is that majority of the senators would just want it scrapped but out of respect to the others who are not around, we just deferred the final decision,” said Drilon.
The Senate’s looming stand on the issue was different from the House of Representatives, where it re-aligned the P25.2-billion pork barrel in the 2014 national budget to several government agencies.
Senators also previously decided to forego the chamber's remaining pork barrel this year (P3.18 billion) so that the government can use the savings for rehabilitation efforts in calamity-stricken areas like quake-hit Bohol and Cebu.
But Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile had reservations, saying it would have been better if Congress passes a supplemental budget if the Supreme Court will rule against the constitutionality of the pork barrel system.
“If the Supreme Court will declare the PDAF unconstitutional, that means there is no appropriation,” he said.
Results of the Pulse Asia survey last month showed that the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to secure majority approval and trust ratings in light of reports connecting lawmakers to misuse of PDAF. (Sunnex)