NAGA CITY, 24Aug2013 – Empty rhetoric.
This is how Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon described President Benigno Aquino III’s televised speech on the Priority Development Assistance Program (PDAF) earlier today.
The youth legislator said that Aquino’s speech is only a desperate attempt to save face.”
“Clearly, the Executive Department is now quivering with fear as public outrage against the pork barrel continue to grow. Yet his new pronouncement rings hollow, as it doesn’t address our call against the presidential pork barrel.”
“Using the old blame-Gloria Arroyo tactic, Aquino is again maneuvering public opinion to veer away from the issue of presidential discretion over public funds. Yet what his speech contains are mere ‘safeguards’ that would only create a new system of legislative spoils instead of outright abolition of legislative pork.”
Ridon said that the Malacanang press conference is proof that the President is really a “pork lover”.
“By jumping on the bandwagon of the people’s disgust for the pork barrel system, Aquino is trying to cover up the fact that he has the ‘greatest pork of all.'”
“Aquino has, in fact, not outrightly called for the abolition of the pork barrel. Instead, he only proposed a series of so-called reforms that would in fact even give the Executive Department greater power over PDAF,” Ridon said.
“This just shows that he remains obstinate on his own lump sum appropriations, which are far greater than the legislative pork barrel.He cannot be allowed to succeed in this double speak.”
In a separate press briefing earlier today, the Kabataan Partylist legislative team presented a briefing paper entitled “Prime Cuts: Dissecting the presidential pork barrel,” wherein it was revealed that Aquino actually possesses a more than P1.3-trillion presidential pork barrel. (Presidential Pork Barrel Primer)
The P1.3-trillion presidential pork for 2014 is composed of the following: lump-sum funds in the national budget, including the Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) worth P310 billion, Unprogrammed Funds worth P139 billion and Automatic Appropriations worth P796 billion; questionable in-budget line items including funds for intelligence and confidential expenses worth P1.4 billion, PAMANA funds worth P7.22 billion, Conditional Cash Transfer Funds worth P62.6 billion, and funding for Bottom-Up Budgeting worth P20 billion. The report also included funds from realigned savings and “hidden funds” worth anywhere between P56 billion to P113 billion.
“The youth remains steadfast in its call for the abolition not just of PDAF but of the presidential pork barrel. As long as Aquino continues to cling to his pork, the fight is not over,” Ridon concluded.
[See attachment for full report on the presidential pork barrel.]