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But why is the proposal to form a special court to try cases arising from the pork barrel scam being dismissed so peremptorily? Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposition deserves at least some serious thought, but two of his colleagues—Senators Francis Escudero and Teofisto Guingona III—have immediately thumbed down the idea.
By Amando Doronila
The Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the P10-billion pork barrel scam has developed into the most gripping political circus in the chamber since the impeachment trial of Renato Corona, the former chief justice.
By Randy David
As guilty as they may be in the public eye, legislators who are accused of receiving kickbacks from their pork barrel allocations have every right to defend themselves against attempts to prejudge their guilt.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That quote, attributed to Martin Luther King, comes to mind at the news that in Sarangani, two incumbent provincial board members and seven former officials of the province have been sentenced to life terms by the Sandiganbayan for the theft of the Countrywide Development Fund, or what the pork barrel was then called.
On Oct. 15, 2013, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, the “equivalent to 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs,” hit Bohol and Cebu, killing close to 200 people, toppling buildings, trees and utility posts, and reducing houses and churches to rubble.
The Jan. 20 privilege speech of Sen. Bong Revilla got front-page treatment in major newspapers the following day. The headlines (e.g., “P-Noy meddled in CJ trial,” “Noy, Mar lobbied for CJ ouster”) seemed to confirm that former chief justice Renato Corona might have been an innocent victim of political vendetta waged by the Aquino administration against the Arroyo administration.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago estimates that senators legally get P1.4 million a month in compensation and allowances. What do we get? Lately, allegations that some senators get much, much more in criminal pork barrel scams and serious questions about the integrity of the institution.
We welcomed the Supreme Court decision declaring the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) unconstitutional. It raised our spirits high. It affirmed our assertion that a multibillion-peso fund that legislators are allowed to dispense with at their discretion breeds corruption and patronage politics, among others. We continue to keep close watch if such fund, now diverted to government agencies, is still under the control of legislators (mostly under the calamity fund).
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s skillful strategy of realigning what he claimed to be his P200-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel in the 2014 budget to the cities of Manila and Caloocan and a town in Cagayan province is unconstitutional and a clear and open defiance of the Nov. 19, 2013, Supreme Court decision declaring the legislators’ PDAF unconstitutional.
By Neal H. Cruz
Senators are defending the realignment of their pork barrel to executive departments. Of course they will. It is as if they still have their hated Priority Development Assistance Fund—the official name of the pork barrel—only it is hidden in the budgets of certain departments. Nine senators have realigned a total of P1.8 billion from the outlawed PDAF to these departments. Sen. Francis Escudero said these are “preenactment amendments to the national budget.” What the Supreme Court has outlawed, he said, is a postenactment amendment, meaning an amendment after the budget has been passed, as it was in the case of projects funded by the PDAF.
By Conrado de Quiros
Jinggoy Estrada has taken to the stand again—metaphorically speaking of course, though one hopes that will soon be literal—to say his piece.
By Neal H. Cruz
Like Dracula, the pork barrel is still alive, only in another form. It turns out that nine senators merely realigned a total of P1.8 billion and congressmen P930 billion of their pork barrel in the 2014 budget despite a Supreme Court ruling that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official name of the allocation, [...]