MANILA - A Palace spokesman on Wednesday said it is too early to launch a People's Initiative to abolish the pork barrel system since the Supreme Court is still holding oral arguments on the constitutionality of the priority development assistance funds (PDAF).
Speaking to radio dzMM, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Malacañang is still waiting for the outcome of the oral arguments before the SC, which will determine if the pork barrel is constitutional or not.
"If it is favorable for constitutionality then they can file a People's Initiative but if it is unconstitutional then there is no need to file a PI. It will already be struck out," he said.
Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno earlier urged the convenors of the Million People March to convene a People’s Congress and push for a People's Initiative to abolish all forms of pork barrel, including the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
He said the power to enact laws is not exclusive to Congress but can be exercised directly by people anchored on the doctrine that "the people are the sovereign people."
Puno's call came as Supreme Court justices deliberated on the petitions questioning the legality of lawmakers' pork barrel.
During Tuesday's oral arguments, Supreme Court senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the PDAF in the 2013 General Appropriations Act "is facially unconstitutional" even without a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
Carpio said the pork barrel system in the 2013 GAA violates the Constitution because it allows the President and Congress to share powers.
Carpio said, under the 2013 GAA that includes PDAF, Cabinet secretaries and congressional committees are allowed to realign funds, and projects are identified by legislators themselves.
"That power (to realign funds) cannot be delegated (to the Cabinet). This power to realign is unconstitutional," he said.