Friday, August 23, 2013

AYEs Have It! Caveat: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig."

Reaction and response to PNoy’s latest move and statement on the Pork Barrel controversy/

AYEs have it!

First, because as of today, the releases of all pork barrel (PDAF) funds are frozen.

Second, because PNoy “tasked the DOJ, together with all the agencies of the executive government under the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council or IAAGCC to work together to accelerate the process, from investigation, to prosecution, to putting people behind bars, and even to asset recovery.” His directives to all agencies and members of government are clear: “Extend your full aid and cooperation so that the truth may be uncovered, and so that the guilty may be held accountable.”

Third, because PNoy affirms that “It is time to abolish the PDAF.”  He really means abolish the PDAF as previously and currently practiced; as the Constitution permits; and as Real Politik and effective governance practically allow.

In short, a “new mechanism” will be created “to address the needs of constituents and sectors, in a manner that is transparent, methodical and rational, and not susceptible to abuse or corruption.”

Is it too vague?

He specified, “Each legislator can identify and suggest projects for his district, and will have to go through the budgetary process.  If approved, these projects will be “earmarked” (sounds familiar) as line items, under the programs of the National Government.” 

We know, of course, that the legislators are already empowered under the Constitution to do that now.

But he included restrictions to the projects such as:

1.             No “consumable soft projects, such as fertilizers, seeds, medicines, medical kits, dentures, funding for sports fests, training materials, and other such items—these projects whose results and impact we cannot conclusively identify, and who may only be ghost projects, used only as a source of income by the corrupt.”
2.             No temporary infrastructure.
3.             No dredging, desilting, regravelling, or asphalt overlay projects.
4.             The funds cannot be disbursed to NGOs and certain GOCCs such as ZREC and NABCOR. Both of these GOCCs will be abolished, along with others of their kind that have become notorious for anomalies, and which seem to serve no other purpose aside from being instruments of corruption.
5.             The funds must be limited to the district or sector of the legislator who sponsored it.
6.             All items will be subject to open and competitive bidding, with all bid notices and awards posted in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System or PhilGEPS.

In effect, PNoy’s allies in the House led by Speaker Sonny Belmonte, and the Senate led by Senate President Frank Drilon will not pass any “earmark” that violates the restrictions.  PNoy shall veto them if it reaches his desk.

Fourth, because “Each item will be disclosed in the DBM and related agency websites and the National Data Portal of the government so that the public may monitor the implementation themselves.”

This is the best move that PNoy could do legally and practically to respond to the clamor of his “Bosses”.

AYEs have it with the caveat - "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig."  "A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog." 

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