National Assembly to Abolish Pork and for People's Initiative
St. Joseph's College Mater Dei Auditorium
December 14, 2013
Click here for video of speeches of Mother Mary John Manansan ang ex-CJ Reynato Puno
|Photos by Arkibongbayan and Efren Ricalde as indicated by the filenames|
SYNOPSIS OF THE DRAFT ACT ABOLISHING THE PORK BARREL SYSTEM,
REFORMING THE BUDGETARY PROCESS AND IMPLEMENTATION, PROHIBITING CERTAIN ACTS, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR
14 December 2014
The abominable pork barrel system remains intact with President Benigno S. Aquino getting far bigger “pork” amounting to hundreds of billions of pesos dwarfing the erstwhile P25B legislators Priority Development Assistance Fund struck down by the Supreme Court.
The SC retains the president’s discretion over the graft-stricken PhP 130 Billion Malampaya fund and the President’s Social Fund. It has yet to rule on the illegal impoundment and rechanelling of funds committed by the President under the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Legislators continue inserting pet projects or “itemized pork” in the budget of government agencies.
Worse, Congress has gifted, on a silver platter, hundreds of billions of lump sum funds to President Aquino and his cabinet in the 2014 GAA. These are in the form of special purpose and unprogrammed funds, including the P130 B rehabilitation fund sans plans and items.
This gargantuan presidential pork barrel continues to be used to control Congress, perpetuate patronage politics and abet massive corruption. The people want the entire pork barrel system to be abolished, including and especially presidential “pork”, considered the mother lode of all “pork”. But we cannot trust the President and Congress to do it. The people must exercise their sovereign power and enact a law for the abolition of the “pork” system via the people’s initiative.
The People’s Initiative
"Initiative" is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and make laws through an election called for the purpose. To exercise the power of initiative or referendum, at least 10% of the total number of registered voters, and at least 3% of every legislative shall sign a petition for the purpose and register the same with the Commission.
Highlights of the proposed law
1. Declaration of State Policies and Principles
The State affirms the need to establish a system of strict accountability over the use of
public funds to ensure that they are spent solely for functions, programs, projects and activities that redound to the interest of the people, especially the marginalized sectors of Philippine society. The pork barrel system, a major source of patronage politics and corruption, is hereby abolished. The mechanisms of checks and balances must be strengthened and the constitutional safeguards related to budgeting, appropriation and use of public funds must be strictly followed. The policies of one fund and line-item budgetting are hereby instituted.
2. Definition of the pork barrel
Pork barrel is a public fund, usually in the form of lump sum, the discretion over which is given by law, regulation or practice to the President or any public officer in the executive branch (“presidential or executive pork”), or to a legislator or group of legislators (“legislative pork”). The exercise of discretion by public officers or legislators relates to the use, allocation or release of pork barrel funds, the identification or selection of projects or beneficiaries, or any or all of these.
3. Mandatory Acts
- All income and revenues of the Government, including non-tax revenues of departments and agencies and of government-owned-and-controlled corporations, shall accrue to the
General Fund of the Government to be spent only pursuant to a valid appropriation made by law.
- An appropriation law may earmark a special fund for a specific purpose and shall be paid out only for the specific purpose for which it was created by law.
- All proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case of calamity and intelligence funds.
- All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall remain in the General Fund and shall not thereafter be available for expenditure except by a subsequent appropriation law;
- The use of Malampaya Fund and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office Fund and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress.
- The President Social Fund is abolished. The share of the government in the aggregate gross earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporations shall accrue to the General Fund and may be used only pursuant to a valid appropriation made by law.
- Public expenditures and transactions shall be published in 15 or 30 days and made accessible to the public.
4. Prohibited Acts
- It shall be unlawful for any public officer to authorize spending of public money that is not covered by any appropriation law.
- It shall be unlawful for any public officer to provide a lump sum amount in the NEP except for calamity and intelligence funds.
- It shall be unlawful for members of Congress to insert or appropriate lump sums in any appropriation bill that is not found in the NEP.
- Legislators are prohibited from intervening in the implementation of the national budget, including identification of projects and having any authority in the release or realignment of funds post-enactment.
- Legislators are further prohibited from inserting new budget items during the Budget Bicameral Committee proceedings without allowing both Houses of Congress from deliberating and voting on the amendments.
- The President is prohibited from impounding any portion of the national budget, unless circumstances warrant and upon approval of Congress.
5. COA as complainant
It shall be the duty of the Commission on Audit to file, as complainant, the appropriate criminal complaints against public officers and private individuals who have been found to have violated the provisions of this Act.
6. Penal provisions
Any public officer and private individual found to have violated this Act shall suffer imprisonment ranging from one year to twenty years and other commensurate penalties and will be disqualified from holding public office.
7. Restrictions of amendment or repeal of this Act
This Act may only be repealed, modified or amended by a law that has been approved by the people in a referendum under the system of people’s initiative and referendum. #
|BAYAN MUNA: 2014 Presidential pork is P1.2546 trillion|
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that the pork barrel is alive and kicking in the 2014 budget.The P1.2546 trillion pork barrel for the president which includes the off budget funds and his cabinet certainly dwarfs the P25 billion PDAF.The congressional bicam should have asserted our congressional power over the budget by insisting that Pres. Aquino itemize these lump sums.Now these funds are open to corruption or patronage politics in the run off to the 2016 elections.We should not allow urselves to be a rubber stamp of the executive
Pork Barrel and Systemic Corruption (First of Two Parts)
IBON Features/ Commentary | 24 October 2013 | The PDAF is actually just a small part of the vast government mechanism of patronage and pork politics centred around the presidency.
by Sonny Africa
Table. Indicative Presidential pork barrel estimates (Php billion)
Sources: Collated using data from Makabayan HR No. 298, Commission on Audit (COA), and Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) 2014
Pork Barrel and Systemic Corruption (Second of Two Parts)
IBON Features/ Commentary | 25 October 2013 | These funds need to be removed from the discretion of the chief executive – whose powers over budgets must also be reduced – and subjected to greater public oversight.
by Sonny Africa