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By Karen BoncocanINQUIRER.net
2:21 pm | Monday, July 15th, 2013
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines – While Senator Franklin Drilon is in favor of abolishing the priority development and assistance fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is hesitant on the idea, saying the funds are “needed” by members of the House of Representatives.
Belmonte told INQUIRER.net that PDAF was necessary in implementing district and partylist lawmakers’ projects.
“With respect to senators who have no specific districts, only they can say why they need it and what safeguards are necessary,” he said.
“Congressmen with districts certainly need the pork barrel for projects in their areas but in all cases strict guidelines and transparency and accountability are needed,” said Belmonte.
The same could be said for partylist congressmen who also had “constituencies,” he added.
But ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio and Cibac Representative Sherwin Tugna echoed Drilon’s proposal to have the PDAF scrapped.
Tinio was set to file a measure abolishing the PDAF on Tuesday.
“This will definitely encounter strong opposition in the House. However, the magnitude of the alleged plunder involving JLN Corp. and a large number of legislators in both chambers of Congress has outraged the nation and shown that PDAF is a corrupting mechanism that is beyond repair,” said Tinio.
Five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives allegedly made available their pork barrel funds to dummy nongovernment organizations for purported ghost projects worth P10 billion over the past decade, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported quoting affidavits submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Drilon earlier said that if the pork barrel could not be scrapped, its use should at least be institutionalized to lessen the risk of it being used in anomalous transactions.
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Tags: corruption , Feliciano Belmonte , Franklin Drilon , Graft , Nation , News , Pork barrel
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