Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, nanindigang walang basehan upang ideklarang labag sa konstitusyon ang PDAF

admin   •   October 10, 2013   •   2759

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza (UNTV News)

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Nanindigan si Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza na walang basehan upang ideklarang labag sa konstitusyon ang Priority Development Assistance Fund o PDAF ng mga mambabatas.

Sa pagpapatuloy ng oral arguments ngayong araw, Huwebes, inisa-isa ni Jardeleza ang anim na special provisions ng PDAF sa 2013 General Appropriations Act at wala umanong isa man dito na labag sa saligang-batas.

Bagama’t may mga anomalya umano sa paggastos ng PDAF gaya ng lumabas sa report ng Commission on Audit (COA), may ginagawa na umano ang Malakanyang at kongreso upang maituwid ito.

Mas maganda umano na ang nabanggit na mga sangay ng gobyerno ang magtuwid sa pang-aabuso sa PDAF sa pamamagitan ng mga reporma sa polisiya nito.

Nakiusap din ito sa korte na hayaan na muna ang dalawang sangay ng gobyerno na maitama ang anomang mga pagkakamali sa paggugol ng PDAF.

Sa kabila umano ng inilabas na report ng COA, hindi kailangan na baguhin ang unang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na nagpapatibay sa legalidad ng pork barrel.

Hiniling din ni Jardeleza na magkaroon ng partial lifting ng TRO sa pork barrel fund bilang konsiderasyon sa mahigit isang milyong iskolar at mahihirap na pasyente na apektado ng pagpapatigil sa pag-release ng pondo.

Sa panayam ng media bago ang oral arguments, sinabi naman Jardeleza na hindi labag sa konstitusyon ang Presidential Decree 910 na pinagbabatayan ng pangulo sa paggugol ng Malampaya fund.

Malinaw umano sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema na nananatiling valid o may bisa ang mga batas na ginawa ni dating pangulong Ferdinand Marcos maliban na lamang kung na-repeal na ito ng kongreso.

Ngunit ayon naman sa petitioner na si Greco Belgica, estoppel na ang hinihiling ni Jardeleza na alisin ang TRO sa PDAF.

Ito ay dahil inihayag na ni Pangulong Aquino ang pag-abolish sa pork barrel at maging ang kongreso mismo ay inalis na rin ito.

Sinabi pa ni Belgica na kung talagang nagmamalasakit ang mga mambabatas sa kanilang mga iskolar at pasyente, ay maaari naman silang magpasa ng batas upang pondohan ito.

Ayon naman kay Attorney Samsom Alcantara, maaari namang abonohan muna ng mga senador at ng mga kongresista galing sa sarili nilang bulsa ang gastusin ng kanilang mga iskolar at mga pasyente na karamihan naman ay mga taga-suporta nila. (Roderic Mendoza / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Doctors group urges Duterte to reverse order barring Cabinet members from attending Senate hearing

Maris Federez   •   October 11, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse his order barring  Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 supplies.

The group wants the Senate hearing to continue the hearing, questioning why the Department of Health (DOH) transferred the said procurement to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

This, despite the earlier clarification made by the Commission on Audit that there was no overpricing in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies and that the said government transaction went through careful inspection.

“Kung bakit ipinasa ng Department of Health ang pagbili nung mga protective equipment na ito sa Department of Budget (and Management), sa DBM. ‘Yun pa lang hindi ma-explain, kase ang ipinapasa lang po talaga sa DBM ay yung mga administrative. ‘Yung mga may kinalaman sa administrative part which means yung mga office supplies, ang mga protective equipment, definitely this is a health. This should actually belong to the Department of Health,” said the group’s president, Dr. Maricar Limpin.

The group also defended the manner of questioning of some senators on the resource persons, saying that there was no bullying that was taking place during the hearing.

“Sa paningin ko yun ay part ng pagku-cross examine, at different personalities have different way of trying to get information. Whatever form na ginagawa nila in order to extract the truth, kase hindi siya maliit na pera. Forty-two billion. At napunta po iyong deal na iyan, yung kontrata, sa isang maliit na kumpanya,” Dr. Anthony Leachon, former president of PCP, said.

The group appeals to the Senate to finish the hearing on the said issue and forward the result of their investigation to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the administration will no longer allow Cabinet members and other officials in the Executive Department to attend any succeeding Senate hearings.

“In fact, they appeared before 12 hearings of the Senate and the House and he only said itigil na iyan, after 12. Kasi wala namang bago pong tinatanong at walang bagong sagot,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

BBM files COC for president

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday formalized his bid to seek the presidential post in the 2022 elections.

Marcos filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at past 11 a.m.

On Tuesday, Marcos declared his plan to run for president in next year’s elections.

He made the announcement via a Facebook video on the same day he took his oath as a new member of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) party, which is allied with the Duterte administration.

In his speech, he disclosed that President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to be his running mate but the plan will no longer push through after the latter announced he was retiring from politics after his term ends in June 2022.

“The original plan was for us to adopt PRRD for our vice presidential candidate pero sa mga nangyari nuong nakaraang Sabado eh nagbago lahat ng plano kaya’t ngayon nagkokonsulta kami sa partido at syempre yung ibang kasamahan kung ano ang dapat gawin”

He also disclosed that he previously met with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte but there were no discussions about a possible political tandem.

Bongbong is the son and namesake of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.

In the 2016 polls, he sought the vice presidential post but lost to then Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.

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