Philippines’ 2013: a year that marked fight vs Corruption
by FFE PH News Staff
The second half of 2013 in the Philippines will be remembered by the series of government scandals that broke out on the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ discretionary funds or PDAF, also known as the pork barrel funds. But former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said that, beyond that, these scandals helped Filipinos finally say ‘No’ to corruption.
The Php10 billion pork barrel scandal led by Janet Lim-Napoles and a number of lawmakers forced thousands of Filipinos to the streets in protest of the misuse of taxpayer’s money. The discontent grew to such proportions that President Aquino finally abolished the PDAF system. In November, the Supreme Court ruled PDAF as unconstitutional.
Briones said that the mass action was proof that Filipinos are ‘getting back to our senses. It’s not enough to accept things as they are. We can demand change.’
Eventually, plunder charges were filed against Napoles, Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr, Juan Ponce Enrile and 34 other lawmakers who were alleged to have taken part in the misappropriation of PDAF for kickbacks. The complaints are now with the Office of the Ombudsman.
The president’s own Disbursement Acceleration Programme (DAP) came under fire, too, showing that the most powerful people in the country are not immune to people’s calls for change. Senator Estrada, and later on other lawmakers, revealed that DAP was unconstitutionally used during the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Centre for Local Governance at the Makati University head and former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr said that the public emerged victorious in the PDAF and DAP issues since ‘officials are becoming more conscious of the need to abide by higher standards than before.’