Former CJ Puno ‘could be misinformed’-A A +A
Friday, October 11, 2013
THE Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System yesterday said former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno doesn’t have the correct information about the Peoples’ Initiative that they launched in Cebu the other day.
Coalition Convenor Marc Canton said they haven’t started with the signature campaign yet for the peoples’ initiative.
“The previous signature drive (when the Coalition started campaigning against the pork barrel system) was for a different purpose,” Canton said.
Another coalition convenor, Msgr. Rommel Kintanar said the suggestion of Puno for a nationwide dialogue on how to draft a law that will abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is well-taken.
Kintanar said the Coalition will meet again tomorrow for the final preparations of the primer of the proposed law to abolish PDAF, and the coming public consultations to determine how far they can go.
“We have only one issue and that is to abolish pork barrel. We are looking for a formula that will not be ignored by the Comelec,” Kintanar said.
In the ANC Twitter Account, Puno commented that the Cebu People’s Initiative is done in the wrong way because collection of signatures shouldn’t be the first step in the initiative.
Instead, Puno said the Cebu group should first draft the rationale of the people’s
initiative in a form of proposition.
The former chief justice has called for a people’s congress and invite legal and academic experts with no political agenda to draft a law that will abolish the pork barrel before presenting it to the public.
The proposition or the draft law is the one which will be endorsed by the Comelec for a referendum by the people.
The Cebu Coalition, which is composed of 70 organizations, said the primer that will be submitted to the people will be the basis to get at least 5.7 signatures representing 10 percent of the total voters nationwide and at least three percent of all the legislative districts.
Lawyer Ernesto Francisco, another convenor, said the primer for the proposition for the Peoples’ Initiative will be finalized from 15 to 20 days from their press conference the other day.
The finalization of the petition to abolish pork barrel will include the text because they don’t want that it will be dismissed or ignored by the Commission on Elections
To prove that they have not yet started the signature campaign contrary to Puno’s statement, Canton said the Coalition will hold its first public consultation on Nov. 9.
Meanwhile, Cebu Provincial Gov. Hilario Davide III approved the request of Rep. Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu, 2nd district) for food security program, which will be taken from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of former congressman Pablo Garcia.
Davide said he just signed the request of Caminero last week.
Earlier, Provincial board member Peter John Calderon said approximately P40 million of the P72.9 million of the former congressman’s PDAF is intended for food security.
“It was the request of Congressman Caminero to utilize part (of the PDAF of Garcia, which is in the Capitol’s) trust fund,” Davide said.
The governor pointed out that the PDAF will be used according to the Special Allotment Release Order (Saro).
In a phone interview, Calderon said an estimate of 8,000 to 10,000 sacks of rice will be purchased to be distributed to the second district.
Calderon explained the amount requested by Caminero to the Capitol is lower than P40 million, just enough to purchase the sacks of rice.
The Provincial Board member clarified that it does not mean that the P40 million for food security will be spent at one time.
Cebu Provincial Legal Officer Orvi Ortega, earlier, said the PDAF of Garcia is not covered by the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court and it can be used based on the Saro.
The Province serves as the implementing unit of the PDAF.
Cebu Provincial Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde reminded that the release or disbursement of funds will be prohibited on Oct. 18 to 26, during the campaign period, including the eve and day of Oct. 27 and 28, which is the day of the Barangay elections.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 11, 2013.