Lawmakers: Aquino's ratings to suffer if PDAF stays-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
OPPOSITION lawmakers warned Tuesday that President Benigno Aquino III will continue to receive low satisfaction ratings unless he orders the total abolition of the priority development assistance funds (PDAF).
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from September 20 to 23 showed that 68 percent were satisfied with President Aquino's performance while 19 percent were dissatisfied. This gave Aquino a net rating of +49, 15 points below the +64 "very good" rating he scored in June.
The survey was conducted at a time when the public was outraged over the supposed abuse of the PDAF or pork barrel funds alloted to congressmen and senators.
Detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles allegedly channeled pork barrel funds to dubious non-government organizations (NGOs).
"The drop in Aquino's popularity rating is a natural consequence following his failure to heed the people’s demand to abolish the pork
barrel in all its forms and hold those involved in the pork barrel scam accountable," Gabriela party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan said.
Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon shows that the recent SWS survey results should serve as a wake-up call for the executive branch as its Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) has also been heavily criticized by the public.
"Malacanang cannot lie through its teeth that its 'Daang Matuwid' is unaffected by the pork barrel scam and the DAP," Ridon said.
Paranaque Representative Gus Tambunting, for his part, said Aquino must stop laying the blame on the previous administration and take the responsibility for the wrongdoings of his officials.
"He must be the President of all the people and not just his party mates and allies," Tambunting said.
Both the constitutionality of the PDAF and DAP had already been questioned before the Supreme Court.
Aquino's allies meanwhile are confident that the President's satisfaction ratings will recover in next survey.
"He is a good President. The Napoles issue is obfuscating the situation," House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said.
"Because of the improving economy evidenced by the improved grade by many international grading institutions, crab mentality of people
critical to PNoy (Aquino) has set in. But I am confident that pulling the President down will not succeed because Filipinos would want him to
sustain the gains in the pursuit of achieving inclusive growth and reforms in government," Western Samar Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, added.
Malacanang said Tuesday that President Aquino is not tolerating any fund misuse even under his administration.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that this was the reason why the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) was asked by the President to also look into other alleged misuse of government funds apart from the supposed multi-billion peso pork barrel mess involving Napoles and her bogus NGOs.
"Certainly we do not tolerate the misuse even if it is under the administration of the President," she said in a press briefing.
A latest Pulse Asia survey showed that 45 percent of Filipinos believed that the pork barrel system should be abolished and 67 percent said that the misuse of PDAF continues to happen under the Aquino administration.
Valte said that Aquino has heard "loud and clear" the Filipinos on their sentiment against the pork barrel.
"That is precisely why he has answered to the call of our citizens who have expressed their anger at the misuse that we’ve seen in the PDAF in the past months and this also strengthens the resolve of the administration to continue to putting reforms into place to make sure that public funds are not abused by those who are in a position to have access to them," she said.
Aquino has scrapped the PDAF in the 2014 proposed budget. The 2014 General Appropriations Bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives on second reading.
Under the new guidelines however, lawmakers can still propose infrastructure projects for their districts. (With SDR/Sunnex)