Bayan marches to Congress to protest ‘pork’, 2014 budget
Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is set to march today, Sept. 27, to the Batasang Pambansa to protest the expected passage on second reading of the 2014 annual budget by the House of Representatives.
Renato M. Reyes, Jr., Bayan secretary general, said the 2014 budget, which replaces the pork barrel with an itemized list of projects, will not eradicate the corrupt patronage system but will only make the executive branch more powerful in approving and releasing the pork barrel.
The militant group believes the independence and integrity of the three co-equal branches of government- the executive, legislative and the judiciary-are being undermined by the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel. Bayan made this statement following the admission of some senators, including Senate President Franklin Drilon, that they received an additional P50 million pork barrel after the impeachment trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed the P50 million additional PDAF on Tuesday when he delivered a privilege speech in an attempt to answer allegations hurled against him concerning his PDAF disbursements. Drilon has denied that the P50 million special PDAF was a form of bribery but what remained of the senators’ PDAF that were withheld during the trial.
Reyes said this system is a “recipe for tyranny.” He stressed President Benigno Aquino III has exercised too much power over congress by giving additional pork barrel in favor of a quorum.
“It’s pork by another name. And if we are to look at the history of how pork is used, it is an instrument by which the Executive controls the Legislative,” Reyes said in a statement.
This is the reason, Reyes said, why Aquino wanted to lift the Temporary Restraining Order over the disbursement of the remaining 2014 congressional pork barrel.
“We believe that one reason Malacanang wants to lift the SC TRO on PDAF is so that funds could be released so that the administration can get a quorum for House sessions and ensure the passage of the proposed budget for 2014. They want to use pork to secure the passage of more pork,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the pork barrel system” is corruption and a form of bribery.”