No pork in 2015 budget – Drilon
Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday debunked reports that a P25-billion worth of pork barrel funds will be included in the upcoming 2015 national budget.
In a statement, Drilon said there is no truth to a published report (not in the Manila Bulletin) that senators would be able to keep their P200-million annual Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) while House members would be able to retain their P70-million annual allocation for a number of infrastructure projects.
The Supreme Court last November issued a ruling striking down the PDAF as unconstitutional as issues about the anomalous diversion of public funds to fake non-government organizations (NGO) went to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam, broke out in 2013.
Three senators namely—Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.–are now facing plunder and graft charges after being linked to the anomaly.
“There is no truth to a report that the Senate leadership has instructed its members to submit a list of projects that would be funded by the 2015 national budget,” Drilon said.
Drilon denied that the Senate leadership asked its members to submit a list of infrastructure projects and medical, educational and financial assistance beneficiaries that they want to be included in next year’s budget.
“I have never asked my colleagues to prepare and submit a list containing preferences for development projects which were used to be funded by then PDAF,” Drilon said.
He reiterated that the Senate itself led efforts to abolish the PDAF even before the Supreme Court declared the pork barrel funds as unconstitutional.
“The Senate led the efforts to abolish the PDAF even before the Supreme Court had declared it unconstitutional,” he said.
“I assure you that PDAF would not resurrect in any form in the national budget,” added the Senate leader.
He also said he has never received any request from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to initiate or coordinate such selection.
“Neither has the Senate at this stage been apprised by the DBM regarding the crafting of the 2015 national budget,” he said.