US Pinoys skeptical of lawmakers' plans to realign pork

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jan 13 2014 07:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2014 03:46 AM

LOS ANGELES -- At the Filipino Community's "Talakayan", a newly launched weekly forum discussing Philippine and US issues, "pork barrel" is once again a hot topic as several lawmakers have realigned their pork funds, as the Supreme Court ruled the corruption-prone funding system as unconstitutional.

"Yung multo nya andyan parin kasi na embed sa sistema yan," said Art Garcia of US Action Against Pork.

The moves come as the Supreme Court ruled the system which had been allegedly misused by lawmakers unconstitutional.

However the Priority Development Assistance Funds for 2014 were already approved.

While they agree with Malacanang's clearance that the move by 9 senators to realign the funds is legal, anti-pork activists are wary of some of the motives of the P1.8 billion move.

"I think the moment a lawmaker realigns his budget allocation it is always for personal interest, and we don't trust them to do that," Dr. Marc Caratao, Talakayan moderator, said.

Senators Miriam Defensor, Ralph Recto, JV Ejercito and siblings Peter and Pia Cayetano realigned their funds to the calamity funds.

Senators Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Antonio Trillanes gave theirs to various, military, education, social welfare, and other various government-run bodies.

However the transaction Filipinos are questioning the most is Senator Jinggoy Estrada's move to give P100 million in pork funds to Manila, where where his father former president Joseph Estrada is mayor.

Both the father and son have defended the realignment saying the money is not going to the former president but rather to city and various programs to serve its residents.

In the meantime, activists say they will remain vigilant especially as they fight to have the presidential pork scrapped as well.

"The anti PDAF movement is not finished yet. Because the Supreme Court has not yet decided on the DAP," Garcia said.