Stories posted 2013

Pork a la PNoy: How they spent P60B in 3 years

PDAF wins elections,
favors political parties

AMID the public outcry for the abolition of the pork barrel system, Malacañang and Congress have agreed to delete the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), by name at least, from the 2014 national budget.

Yet behind the harried efforts to now design “a new mechanism” to implement what would be PDAF in substance, behind closed doors lawmakers and Cabinet members have talked about how to salve the political values of pork, the less flattering nickname for PDAF.

Pork a la PNoy: How they spent P60B in 3 years

Same, same bad pork: ‘Chop-chop’
contracts, duplicate projects, etc.

BUYING THINGS in small portions — “tingi-tingi” — is popular among Filipinos, but Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson is clearly not a fan of the practice. At least not when it comes to pork-barrel projects, or those that use monies from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

According to Singson, DPWH has had difficulty implementing PDAF projects whenever lawmakers tend to break them up into small chunks. In the past, he says, the propensity was for legislators to not finish a project in one year because they opt to spread out their funds in several locations. This has resulted, he told PCIJ in a recent interview, in substandard or partially completed projects that usually require repair and improvement later.


Pork mess toll: 5 state firms, 283 civil servants

IT SEEMS the heads of five government corporations would not be the only ones on the chopping board for implementing the anomalous pork barrel projects recently reported by the Commission on Audit (COA). Now it looks like the state firms in question may themselves disappear while their combined 283 employees may go jobless.

The Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG) has recommended to President Benigno S. Aquino III the abolition of Zamboanga del Norte College Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC) and National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR). In a speech last Aug. 23, Aquino himself said that the ZREC and NABCOR would be abolished because they had become “notorious for anomalies” and “instruments of corruption.”

Pork a la PNoy: How they spent P60B in 3 years

Abuse, misuse of PDAF linger under ‘Daang Matuwid’

HOW DO you square a circle?

That’s a puzzle that has perplexed geometers for centuries.

Yet Malacañang and Congress say they have found a way to square the circle of abuse and misuse of pork: a bundle of tentative, broad strokes of a “new mechanism” to expunge the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), by name at least, in the 2014 General Appropriations Act.

COA report raises red flags

SAROs in chaos, DAP deals sans
plans, ‘systems errors’ at DBM

SOME TRANSPARENCY online, but also some opaque and chaotic disbursement practices offline: That seems to be the sorry story so far of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under the “Daaang Matuwid” administration of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Created as a full department by Executive Order No. 292 or the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, DBM “is responsible for the formulation and implementation of the National Budget with the goal of attaining the national socio-economic plans and objectives” as well as “for the efficient and sound utilization of government funds and revenues to effectively achieve our country’s development objectives.”

Money politics & the May 2013 elections

‘High rollers’ rule Senate donors,
give P795-M in campaign funds

WHILE MOST of the tycoons who bankrolled candidates and political parties in the 2010 Presidential elections were curiously absent, the 2013 midterm elections still had high-roller donors who accounted for the bulk of the campaign donations made to the 12 winning senatorial candidates and their political parties.

Only 2,368 donors — 2,174 persons and 194 corporations — contributed the P1.69 billion that went to the campaign purses of the 12 winning senatorial candidates and their political parties, according to the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Money politics & the May 2013 elections

Poll laws in limbo: Firms can’t
donate but owners bankroll bets

LAWYERS ARE taught early on to make the distinction between companies and their officers and shareholders. But Rona Ann Caritos, acting Executive Director of the lawyers’ election watchdog group Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), indicates that this may not be true when it comes to the law on banned donors to election campaigns.

“It is the position of LENTE that the officers, the board of directors, the board of trustees of these corporations are also covered by the prohibition,” Caritos says. “It is not just the corporation that is banned from donating, but the officers as well. Why? Because what you cannot do directly, you also cannot do indirectly.”

Money politics & the May 2013 elections

Top execs of barred firms
funded Senate bets, parties

IN THEORY, elections are supposed to be the great leveler or equalizer of democracy. The vote of any ordinary man scraping a living off the streets is supposed to have the same clout as that of a tycoon living it up in his penthouse.

But in our rather imperfect world, even way before voters get their hands on ballots, things take place that tend to ensure that the wealthy and powerful will have influence on those poised to set policy and law.


Elections: Money + Power

FOR THE 2013 midterm elections, a company called the International Global Mining Exchange (IGME) donated P5 million to the campaign kitty of deposed President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). After winning the mayoralty seat of Manila, Estrada plucked IGME’s former president from his post at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and appointed him as the new City Engineer of Manila.

IGME was PMP’s second highest donor last elections, with its P5 million trailing only businessman William Tiu Gatchalian’s P10-million donation.


Clan of candidates

LAGUNA GOVERNOR Emilio Ramon ‘ER’ Ejercito never got to have the success in the film industry that was enjoyed by his uncle Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada. But in the May 2013 elections, he managed to beat his more famous uncle — their clan’s political patriarch — in at least one aspect: the amount of funds he poured into his election campaign.

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