Stories posted 2012

Pigging out on Pork a la PNoy

Bogus, favored NGOs fail
to account for P770-M pork

FELICIANO MENDOZA was enjoying semi-retirement in his hometown of San Rafael, Bulacan last September when he received a letter that jolted him from his life of relative calm.

The letter was from the Commission on Audit (COA), which was performing a cursory audit of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAFs) released from 2007-2009. The commission wanted to confirm if Mendoza had availed himself of a P120,000-loan in June 2007 from a nongovernment organization (NGO) that implemented a social development project of a Bulacan legislator at the time. That year, 2007, was also when Mendoza served his last term as barangay captain.


Forged for pork

DON’T GET mad. Sue.

That’s what Feliciano Mendoza and three of his fellow former barangay captains decided to do after they said they found out their signatures had been forged for a pork-barrel project way back in 2007.

Citing conspiracy between the seven incorporators/board of trustees of a nongovernment organization (NGO) and a then Bulacan district representative from whose PDAF the NGO's funds were sourced, the four ex-barangay captains from Bulacan brought their case to the Office of the Ombudsman. There they filed criminal charges against the seven incorporators/trustees of the NGO and the former Bulacan legislator for violation of Republic No. Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and for falsification of public documents. They also filed administrative charges against the former legislator for "grave misconduct and serious dishonesty."


LGUs ride piggyback on pork

A NUMBER of local government units (LGUs) have joined the pork-barrel bandwagon and launched slush funds for their councilors.

The funds usually come from the Local Development Fund (LDF) that is equivalent to 20 percent of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) that all LGUs collect from national government, based on their population size and capacity to collect taxes.

But some LGUs wallowing in revenues have sourced pork shares for their councilors from local budgets. The practice continues despite a recent stern warning from the Commission on Audit (COA) for the LGUs, among them the Quezon City government, to quit being hung-up on pork.

Binay bags P200-M PDAF:
Pork train to Malacañang?

WITHIN six months after he took his oath in June 2010 as the country’s 15th Vice President, Jejomar ‘Jojo’ C. Binay, had two wishes fulfilled, with a lot of help from President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and his friends in Congress.

First, Aquino granted Binay’s request to set up official residence and workplace at the newly renovated Coconut Palace in Manila, a 2.7-hectare “Imeldific” complex built in 1978 supposedly for P1.2-billion.

Second, Aquino and Congress allowed Binay to have his own pork barrel – until then the exclusive perk of lawmakers – although they later pruned his plea for P500-million pork per year to only P200 million.

Pigging out on Pork a la PNoy

Senators’ PDAF floods
NCR, vote-rich provinces

IN THE last 23 months, a total of P5.78 billion of taxpayers’ money went to pork – or officially, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – to finance the pet projects across the nation of 21 senators of the republic. Two others, Panfilo M. Lacson and Joker P. Arroyo, have opted not to get any pork servings at all for years now.

Let’s do the math: The staggering figure means that from June 30, 2010, when Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III took his oath as President, to June 30 this year, each of the 21 senators with pork shares has secured P275 million for projects for his or her constituents, to his or her fancy. That also means that, thanks to pork, during the period, each of the 21 has had access to a slush fund of P11.9 million a month, or P398,000 a day.


Pork, ‘daang matuwid’ don’t mix:
One bidder, one PDAF project?

AUCTIONS for civil-works contractors to carry out “hard” or infrastructure-related pork-barrel projects must be lonely affairs.

There is only one bidder for each of the competitive tenders held by the Department of Public Works and Highways to choose a contractor for infrastructure projects under the PDAF program, according to DPWH data on abstract of bids since July 2010.

That compares to an average of 4.4 bidders per auction for DPWH projects worth P50 million and above. For civil works contracts valued at less than P50 million, the average is 2.4 bidders per auction.

Pigging out on pork a la PNoy

Bailiwicks, not poor towns,
grab slabs of House PDAF

THE OFFICIAL name of the pork barrel – Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF – should already make it obvious what it is truly intended for.

Yet instead of primarily being a means of helping more people gain access to basic services that the government should have provided them in the first place, PDAF remains a political tool wielded by those in the legislature and the executive to serve their own interests.

For the executive, whom and when to give pork seem to be based partly on exacting what one high-level official calls “historical justice” on its critics, and partly on its own need to ensure cooperation from members of Congress to achieve its political goals.


Good pork, bad pork

ON ANY given day, the corridors of the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC)  in Quezon City leading to the Medical Social Service are filled with patients and their relatives seeking financial assistance through their congressman’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork.

Highly popular, the hospital’s Medical Social Service is open 24/7 to process charity applications, including PDAF assistance. “I can’t imagine not having the PDAF for these patients,” says one social worker. She adds that 90 percent or about 675 of EAMC daily volume of patients are charity clients, including those benefiting from legislative pork.

Pigging out on pork

PDAF racket rocks ‘daang matuwid

HE IS still about to give his third State of the Nation Address next week, President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III can already claim at least one historical distinction: he is the country’s first chief executive to purposely fatten the budget for pork, or what is officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In his 2011 budget, the first he submitted to Congress, Aquino increased the budget for pork by 223 percent, or from only P6.9 billion in 2010 to P22.3 billion.

In 2012, Aquino raised the pork budget further to P24.89 billion. Next year, it is set to climb to P30 billion.


Pork a la PNoy

A LONG and malleable list of projects that could serve both the welfare of “indigent” families and the political stock of lawmakers is enrolled in Republic Act No. 10155, the General Appropriations Act of 2012. Its Section XLIV spells out the rules for the release of the Priority Development Assistance Fund:

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