MANILA -- Unseen hands may be behind the retired generals’ call for President Benigno Aquino III to give up his pork, but Malacanang is unruffled.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte will not name names, noting only that Aquino himself already said earlier that many have been affected by the administration’s move to run against the corrupt.
She told the retired generals, however, that there is no such thing as presidential pork.
“It’s a label that some groups out there are using to push the citizenry to go against the president,” she said, adding that the “special purpose funds” that are under the executive branch’s care “have specific purposes.”
She also insisted these undergo normal auditing processes.
Retired Brig. Gen. Rosalino Alquiza, the former president of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers, said Malacanang should just transfer state funds to the National Treasury.
“We have heard a lot of sentiments and positions [on the pork barrel]. I join the recommendation that the Malampaya fund, the Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) fund and the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) fund that go directly to the presidential fund … should be deposited in the National Treasury and be subjected to the budgetary process,” Alquiza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Retired Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Reyes, chairman of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, also told the same news entity that this is also the common sentiment among members.
Valte stressed that the public should also check if there is misuse of the so-called pork funds. If there is misuse, they are free to pursue all logical and legal ends to bring the guilty to justice, she said.
This, as Valte also said Malacanang is not bothered by the People’s Initiative started by former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.
She noted the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) – or Congress’ pork – will no longer be in the 2014 General Appropriations Act.
“We are already in the process of abolishing the PDAF, at least for 2014,” she said.