SC junks petition to cite Drilon for contempt

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday junked the petition to disbar and cite Senate President Franklin Drilon for contempt for leading the Senate in re-aligning the chamber’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for calamity response.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said former Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr. failed to substantiate his allegations that Drilon violated the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the release of PDAF for the rest of the year.

Also, the Court found that the petition has been mooted by its November 19 decision declaring the PDAF, which gives lawmakers a hand in the implementation of government projects, as unconstitutional.

Authored by Drilon, Senate Resolution 302 urges President Benigno Aquino III to tap the senators’ unused pork barrel for the rehabilitation of areas affected by typhoons, earthquake in Central Visayas and armed conflict in Zamboanga City.

The resolution was approved by the Senate on October 22 or nearly three weeks before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the world’s strongest storm to hit land this year, destroyed communities in the Visayas.

After the release of the SC decision, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio opined that the unspent PDAF worth P14.6 billion can be used as additional funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas ravaged by Yolanda.

The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the supplemental budget bill last week.

Meanwhile, the SC rejected Syjuco’s request to speak at the oral argument on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Te did not give any reason for the dismissal.

Syjuco is one the nine petitioners against the DAP, which re-aligned "savings" of the government for projects that supposedly benefited the economy in 2011. (Sunnex)

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