October 7, 2013 · Posted in: 2013 Elections, Access to Information, Civil Society, Congress Watch, Freedom of Information, General, Governance, In the News, Investigative Reports, Money Politics, Online Research
IN AUGUST this year, President Benigno S. Aquino III did the seemingly unthinkable: He announced the abolition of the pork barrel.
The trouble was that he did not really abolish the pork barrel system; what he did abolish was the pork in its current form under the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
In its place, Malacanang has drawn up a new mechanism to do roughly the same thing – allow lawmakers to identify projects in their districts to be funded with public money.
In fact, legislators have already started submitting the list of projects they want funded under this new system to the Speaker of the House, who in turn transmitted the lists to the Department of Public Works. And as DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson tells PCIJ, he has had to return many of the congressmen’s lists because they looked so much like the old lists from the old abolished system.
By all indications, the new mechanism is basically the same pig with a different name – pork for patronage, public funds for political gain.
In the first part of the PCIJ’s new series on the politics of pork, PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas and Research Director Karol Ilagan look at how the 15th Congress spent its pork under the PNoy administration, and how some of the same problems of pork remain unchallenged in the new system.
Read Part 1