SC ‘likely’ to uphold constitutionality of PDAF-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
THE Supreme Court (SC) will likely declare the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) in accordance with the law as it cannot ignore three previous decisions recognizing its constitutionality, the leader of the House opposition bloc said.
House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora made the comment following the SC’s issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the second tranche releases of the PDAF allocated to congressmen and senators.
“I think it is going to be difficult for the Supreme Court to get away from its previous two rulings that PDAF is constitutional. It is just a question of determining whether PDAF can be used for the purposes that it was originally intended,” Zamora said.
Even before the issuance of a TRO, however, President Benigno Aquino III already instructed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to suspend all PDAF releases following the controversial multi-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Zamora was referring to the decision of the SC en banc in the 1994 Philconsa v. Enriquez case wherein the PDAF then was still referred to as the Countrywide Development Fund.
In a resolution issued on the Andres Sarmiento et al. v. the Treasurer of the Philippines et al in 2001 and Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP) v. the Secretary of Budget and Management et al. in 2012, the tribunal also upheld the constitutionality of the PDAF.
ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio, for his part, said that the legality of the PDAF is not the issue at hand.
“The legality of congressional and presidential pork is not really the main question. This goes beyond legality. PDAF is more political rather than a legal or constitutional question. We are at a point where the public is demanding the abolition of PDAF and the Presidential discretionary funds,” Tinio said.
Several opposition lawmakers said that the abolition of the P25.2-billion PDAF allocation in the proposed 2014 budget is not enough to gain back the public’s trust on the use of public funds.
Earlier, the House committee on appropriations decided to distribute the PDAF to several government agencies thereby removing their discretion over the use of funds. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)