PNoy suspends release of pork barrel funds

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2013 02:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2013 10:57 PM

MANILA Releases under the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) have been suspended while authorities conduct an investigation into the alleged misuse of the pork barrel, President Aquino said Tuesday.

"Walang ni-release. Ang statement ni (Budget) Secretary [Butch] Abad: Walang ni-release for second half," Aquino said in a tv interview.

"Tapusin muna ang imbestigasyon and check kung mayroong pa ngang loopholes na dapat maisara."

The President said he is saddened by the latest revelations by the Commission on Audit on the questionable use of the fund. He maintained the pork barrel system need not be abolished as it addresses local needs that are otherwise unknown to the national government.

"Malulungkot ka rin, 'yong magandang nagagawa naman sa paggamit ng PDAF, natatabunan nitong kababuyan na ito. 'Yong pagkakataon na madinig 'yong mga pangangailangan lalo na sa labas ng mga urban centers, parang mababawasan. Parang, trabaho ko siguro, 'wag naman sanang madamay 'yong mahusay at 'yong matino doon sa mga taong mapagsamantala."

"Mayroon namang mga NGO na totoong tumutulong, na mawawalan ng access to resources na nakakatulong sa kanilang mga komunidad kung ipe-puwera natin sila. So, we're trying to come up with that system that, siyempre, does away with all of the loopholes na a para makalusot, para siguradong mapunta doon sa talagang pangangailangan ng bawat komunidad."

He earlier said he wants tighter monitoring and more stringent measures to prevent the fund's misuse.