Aug 202013
Eighteen senators from the Senate majority bloc have agreed not to use their “pork barrel” funds for now until stricter guidelines are put in place on the release of these funds, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.

In a statement, Drilon said this decision would be formalized during the next session in a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate to cease from availing, accessing and utilizing their pork barrel funds.”

“The majority senators’ decision to adopt the resolution is a manifestation of their interest in making the use of the PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] more transparent and open for scrutiny of the public that will help prevent the abuses and inadequacies which were observed in the Commission on Audit (COA) report,” he said.

Drilon was referring to a COA special audit report released last Friday stating that PDAF releases from 2007 to 2009 “were not efficiently monitored and tracked, if at all.”

The report bared that over P6 billion in PDAF went to questionable NGOs during the period covered by the audit. 

Drilon said that the majority senators agreed to let the Department of Budget and Management “promulgate stricter and more effective implementing guidelines on the release of the PDAF.”

“The government must institute stricter guidelines on the utilization of the PDAF to avoid  exposing substantial government funds to untoward risks and ensure that the PDAF is disbursed only in favor of specific and effective pro-poor programs of the government,” he said.

Each senator is entitled to P200 million in PDAF annually for projects within a “menu” specified by the DBM.

Among the members of the Senate majority are Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., whose names are being dragged into alleged anomalies involving PDAF.

Other members of the Senate majority are Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Pia Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Lito Lapid and Loren Legarda.

Senators Sergio Osmeña III, Grace Poe, Aquilino Pimentel III, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Antonio Trillanes IV and Cynthia Villar are also aligned with the Senate majority.

On Monday, Senator Aquino already announced that he will not use his PDAF until charges are filed against persons involved in alleged anomalies that used pork barrel funds. Andreo Calonzo/KBK, GMA News

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