Santiago to propose inclusion of Malampaya fund in GAA-A A +A
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago said Wednesday she will propose the inclusion of the controversial Malampaya fund to the national budget.
In an interview, Santiago said she will also seek the inclusion of the funds coming from Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation and other similar agencies to the General Appropriations Act (GAA) in order to stop the "left and right source of corruption."
"Bantay Sarado ang gagawin natin diyan dahil ang taong bayan ang totoong natatalo sa kabuuan," Santiago said in a radio interview.
At the same time, Santiago said all elected officials from the President, senators and congressmen as well as governors, mayors, even barangay captains and tanod must set an example in practicing morality in the government.
"Values are important. Kailangan lahat ng tukso sa corruption alisin para makita natin kung sino pa ang matitira sa gobyerno kung walang source. Dito lalabas ang mga tunay na magagaling na gusto talagang maglingkod sa bayan," she stressed.
Meanwhile, Santiago tagged the proposal for a peoples' initiative against the pork barrel as infeasible as it will be too costly and prone to vote buying. Instead she proposed to re-introduce a measure originally filed by then Senator Benigno Aquino III called the Budget Control and Impoundment Act in the present Congress. The measure will preserve the congressional power of the purse because it will require the President to go back to congress with a request to impound the appropriations.
She said that the President should not make a habit of requesting large budgets for some departments and at midyear juggle the funds and repackage it as DAP or the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
Meanwhile, Santiago said public servants running for different positions should forego their pork barrel if their intention are purely to serve the Filipino people.
The senator said the pork barrel system has encouraged corruption and corrupt politicians.
The abolition of the pork barrel, Santiago said, will encourage politicians whose intent is to craft worthwhile legislation rather than to dip their fingers into the pork barrel funds.
"Ang daming magagaling na tao diyan na gusto talaga magsilbi sa bayan. Pero takot sila tumakbo dahil ayaw madungisan ang kanilang pagkatao dahil sa pork barrel. I am very sure that with the abolition of pork barrel it will encourage more people with integrity and intellectual capacity to run for office," she said.
The pork barrel system attracts corrupt officials to vie for power for personal gain, she added.
"Tingnan natin kung sino ang maiiwan na magseserbisyo pa rin sa tao pag wala ng pork. I really go for the total eradication of pork barrel in our system. Time to teach the right values for our children. Hindi puro corruption," she said.
Aside from Santiago, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Francis Escudero echoed Santiago's sentiment.
Recto said majority of the senators expressed their strong approval to stop the pork barrel and to give way to a new system.
He confirmed that a caucus will be held anytime next week and the main agenda is to tackle the priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
Recto said it was undeniably true that many public officials used, abused, or misused their PDAF as claimed by some sectors.
Escudero, for his part, maintained that with PDAF, the anger of the Filipino people will continue as he expressed belief that majority of the Filipino people want the abolition of pork barrel.
Senator Grace Poe said she will personally campaign for the total abolition of pork barrel to end all negativity it brings. Poe it is high time for public officials to listen to the will of the people.
The total abolition of pork barrel, Poe stressed is the only way to regain the trust of the people specially now that the Senate as an institution is facing challenged in connection with the pork barrel issue.
Senators are all awaiting for the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of PDAF as this will affect the approval of 2014 national budget. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)