TODAY we start running a series of PCIJ reports on the unyielding saga of pork and corruption, seemingly the eternal scourge of government and politics in the Philippines.

On Nov.19, 2013, the Supreme Court, voting 14-0 with one abstention, declared “the entire 2013 PDAF Article” and all legal provisions behind its prior incarnations – Countrywide Development Fund and Congressional Initiatives Allocation – to be unconstitutional.

It noted that the pork system “authorized lawmakers, individually or through committees, to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release, and/or fund realignment.”

But from the reports of the Commission on Audit (COA) on agencies riddled with pork, and various people and paper sources, the story of the continuing abuse and misuse of pork and other lump-sum funds emerges.

It lingered on even during the first half of the “Daang Matuwid” administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III from 2011 to 2013.

And despite the high court’s temporary restraining order on pork disbursement from Sept.10, 2013, some agencies and legislators continued to dispense it, while many others have yet to return to the Treasury multimillion pesos of unutilized pork monies allotted in their 2012 and 2013 budgets.


* Pork a la Gloria ‘Kahindik-hindik’; Pork a la PNoy ‘Unconscionable’

* The modus of pork crooks

“Kahindik-hindik” or horrible in English, was how then COA Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan described the corruption in pork that her team of 18 COA Special Audits Office staff and a Technical Audit specialist uncovered when they scrutinized pork-barrel projects supposedly implemented from 2007 to 2009.

Fresh COA reports on the agencies that implemented pork projects during the first half of the Aquino administration do not present a pretty picture, either. In one, state auditors chose a searing description for what has been going on: “unconscionable” – or walang awa in Filipino.

COA’s Circular 2012-003 defines “unconscionable expenditures” as those that are “unreasonable and immoderate, and which no man in his right sense would make, nor a fair and honest man would accept as reasonable, and those incurred in violation of ethical and moral standards.”

For this series of reports, a seven-person team of PCIJ writers, content producers, and platform staff reviewed, sorted, and analyzed a volume of data from the agencies linked to the Napoles pork-barrel scam; the files of whistleblower Benhur Luy; the pleadings submitted to the Sandiganbayan; COA audit reports; the corporate records of some contractors behind pork-funded projects; and the political history of administration and opposition legislators who had been linked to the corruption in pork.

Too, the PCIJ sent letters to 20 lawmakers implicated in the pork-barrel cases to secure their side, and conducted interviews with relevant sources from the Department of Justice and other executive agencies, the Ombudsman, and COA, as well as with the lawyers and some of the respondents in the cases pending before the Sandiganbayan. – PCIJ, August 2015

Comment Form