Tupas vows impartial probe on JDF

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Monday, August 4, 2014


HOUSE committee on justice is set to begin Tuesday, August 5, its investigation into the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) or the so-called judicial "pork barrel".

Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., panel chair, said he will make sure that the committee will be fair and objective during the hearing.

The panel was not certain though if Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno will attend the hearing as it tackles the background of JDF.

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The committee has sent invitations for Sereno or her duly authorized representatives, SC's finance officer, court administrator and assistant court administrator, resident auditor, and representatives from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), among others.

Tupas said the inquiry was not a retaliatory action against the SC after the high tribunal declared both the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

He said the JDF probe would help restore the integrity and balance in the three co-equal branches of government. It is for the sake of transparency and accountability, he added.

Earlier, Tupas and Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farinas filed House Bill 4738 and 4690, respectively, to repeal, replace and reform the JDF by compelling the SC justices to open their pork barrel, stressing the constitutional grant of fiscal autonomy cannot and should not be used to frustrate the overriding constitutional principles of transparency accountability and good governance.

Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, for his part, expressed doubts on the timing of the congressional inquiry.

He noted that the probe could be misconstrued as direct attempt to get back at members of the high court following adverse rulings on PDAF and DAP.

"I caution my colleagues because doing the inquiry right now is ill-timed and would be misinterpreted as a mere revenge against the SC. The noble intention of good governance will be overtaken by the bad timing of the investigation," Romualdez said. (Sunnex)

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