Fight versus pork far from over – Cayetano

August 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment


By Yolanda Sotelo

ANTI-PORK SENATOR: Senator Peter Cayetano (center) answered media men in Pangasinan about the evils brought by the traditional pork-barrel system among senators and congressmen. Cayetano is flanked by Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino (left) and Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) (right). MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

ANTI-PORK SENATOR: Senator Peter Cayetano (center) answered media men in Pangasinan about the evils brought by the traditional pork-barrel system among senators and congressmen. Cayetano is flanked by Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino (left) and Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) (right). MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA


LINGAYEN – Senator Peter Alan Cayetano said the fight against the Priority Development Allocation Fund is far from over as the 2014 budget still contains allocations for the pork barrel.
“We’re not there yet because the budget submitted is not pork-free. (So) with President Aquino’s pronouncement abolishing the pork barrel system, I hope my resolution abolishing PDAF or any other variation or other name, will be passed and applied to the 2014 budget,” Cayetano told reporters on Friday after bringing relief goods to flood victims in this town.
He said his resolution called for a “line item budget” that will ensure that all congressional districts, towns and cities will have development fund but the projects are already specified in the national budget.
“Pork barrel is basically lump sum and discretion (on what project to implement) is given to the legislators. Take out lump sum and discretion and they (legislators) will have to follow the ordinary rule,” Cayetano said.
“If the pork barrel would disappear from the 2014 budget, the only lump sum that would remain would be the calamity and intelligence funds are by their nature, in lump sum,” he said.
The President should have lump sum but should be reduced because it is about one eight of the budget, or 12.5 percent if the pension is included, he said.
He said under his resolution, the legislators will have to specify projects like farm to market roads and highways that would be included in the national budget and which would be implemented by the concerned agencies.
“Most congressmen would welcome the line item budget because “now they struggle to get projects for their districts,” he said.
“The line item budget system would help the Congress to mature as their role would be on passing the budget and oversight (of the projects), making sure that every cent is spent well,” Cayetano explained.
“It will be a maturing process for all of us,” he said.
He explained that the President may be able to withhold the projects for his political foes, but that would mean courting the ire of the concerned lawmakers’ constituents.
“The congressman could tell his constituents that the project was included in the budget, and tell them to follow up the projects in Malacanang,” he said.
Cayetano took the cudgels for his fellow legislators, saying while some are unscrupulous, many were just victims of the system.
On the same breath, he pointed out that pork barrel was less than two percent of the national budget, and that the 98 percent was not necessarily corruption-free.
“Remember that pork barrel is less than two percent of the national budget, if may anomaly sa two percent, what about the 98 percent, walang anomaly? Pero ang problema di mabantayan ng legislators dahil sa stignma or dahil sa problema sa pork barrel,” he said.
If the pork barrel would disappear from the 2014 budget, the only lump sum that would remain would be the calamity and intelligence funds are by their nature, in lump sum, he said.
Cayetano lauded President Aquino” who really listens and (is) a real reformist and for responding right away to the call of the people “I think naramdamanniyaanggalitngatingmgakababayan.”
“But the real credit should be given to those who pushed the issue, those who used the traditional and social media to fight the pork barrel system. I thank the media which did not waver in its exposes, and which proves that even old habits can be thrown away and reforms can be done,” he said.
But he asked for continuous vigilance because “until someone gets jailed, the system won’t be changed.”
“What is important is RIP – reveal, investigate, prosecute. The problem now is the case is shallow, and that only Janet Napoles is being linked to the case, and while it was obvious that some legislators are involved, there are no strong evidence linking them to the anomaly,” he said.

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Entry filed under: News.

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