Palace opposes people's initiative vs 'pork'-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
MALACANANG rejected Tuesday the people's initiative being pushed by the group of retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno against pork barrel.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that there were available options other than the people's initiative in safeguarding the integrity of public funds.
"We share common ground with advocates of reform towards greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds. However, while we recognize that people's initiative is a valid exercise of citizen’s democratic rights under the 1987 Constitution, we believe that it is not the only available option at this time and all other options need to be considered thoroughly as this will have far-reaching implications on our people," Coloma said the regular press briefing in Malacanang.
Coloma issued the statement in response to the proposal of Puno to abolish the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, the Disbursement Acceleration Program and to check the abuses of Congress through people's initiative.
"A people’s initiative presupposes that the Legislative and the Executive branches of government are unwilling to enact and implement laws that will prevent the misuse of public funds. We believe there are sufficient avenues for legislative reform and that Congress is prepared to enact laws to institutionalize these reforms," he said.
"The administration is supportive of legislative reforms and is prepared to adopt appropriate measures that will safeguard the integrity of public funds. The Supreme Court decision on pending issues provides an opportunity for bringing greater clarity on the separation of powers provision in the Constitution. Such clarity will strengthen the system of checks and balances and thus foster good governance," he said.
Coloma reiterated that the government shares the public's view on the need to put a stop to the abuse of PDAF use.
"Sa panig po ng ating pamahalaan, puspusan ang pagsusumikap na magkaroon ng reporma at pagbabago, sapagkat ang pinakamahalagang plataporma po ng ating administrasyon ay ang pagtahak sa matuwid na daan o ang promotion of good governance," he said.
At the same time, Coloma said he was not aware of an internal survey showing a 42-point drop on President Benigno Aquino III's approval rating due to the controversy on the pork barrel.
"Wala po akong nalalamang survey na ganyan at hindi ko pa po natutunghayan ‘yan kung meron man," he said.
He said that Aquino would do whatever he thinks is right regardless of the results of the surveys.
"Ibig ko pong sabihin, hindi naman po fixated ang ating Pangulo doon sa popularity or doon sa approval. Kasi po ang sinumpaan niyang tungkulin ay gawin ‘yung tama at gawin ‘yung nararapat. So siguro po ‘yan ang mainam na konteksto sa pag-appreciate nitong mga bagay na ito regarding the results of opinion surveys," the official explained.
"Kahit sino po ang gumawa ng survey, if it is a credible survey and if it is a survey that allows us to appreciate better what needs to be done to improve the quality of public service, then that is what will be done by this government," Coloma added. (SDR/Sunnex)