Aug 292014

Anti-pork barrel advocates will have difficulty gathering enough signatures for the people’s initiative they’ve started to enact a law against lump sum appropriations in the budget, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Christian Monsod said on Friday.

In an interview with News To Go, Monsod—a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission—said anti-pork barrel groups should instead focus on keeping a close eye on the government to make sure it wouldn’t circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision finding the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional.

“I don’t know if they can do it. Mahirap ‘yan,” Monsod said.

“Pero nandiyan na ang desisyon ng SC, bantayan na lang kung sumusunod diyan ang executive at legislative. Bantayan lang nila ‘yung circumvention—’yung [sasabihin na] wala nang PDAF, pero meron na namang ibang paraan,” he added.

The anti-pork barrel initiative seeks enact a law abolishing the presidential and congressional lump sum funds and mandate line item budgeting.

It also seeks to prohibit and to criminalize the appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalize violators with six to 10 years’ imprisonment and disqualification from public office.

Organizers are hoping to gather six million signatures until December.  The campaign was launched this month in a series of public activities, including the rally in Luneta on August 25, National Heroes’ Day.

The 1987 Constitution allows Filipinos to directly propose laws through a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the total number of registered voters, of which three percent of every legislative district must be represented. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/NB, GMA News

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