FFE Magazine

‘There’s a god, after all’- Senator Miriam on PDAF ruling

by FFE PH News staff

Miriam Defensor Santiago

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago expressed satisfaction on the decision made by the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday that the Priority Development and Assistance Fund (PDAF) is unconstitutional.

 

“On SC striking down the PDAF as unconstitutional, there’s a God after all,” said the senator in a tweet.

 

In a 14-0 vote, with Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. abstaining because his wife is a lawmaker, the high court ruled out that the PDAF Article or “pork barrel” system is unconstitutional for letting lawmakers fund specific projects which they themselves determine therefore allowing them to have personal discretionary funds.

 

The unanimous vote did not come as a surprise since the verdict has long been the position of many experts, according to the Dean of San Beda College of Law Ranhillo Aquino.

 

Aquino said that the PDAF clearly violates the separation of powers that was essential in the Constitution, pointing out that the legislative department writes laws, not to implement projects.

 

“The bottom line is, do not trespass separation of powers. Do not let legislature play executive and do not let executive play legislature,” Aquino said.

 

The SC said that all unused PDAF should be returned to government coffers.

 

The issue on the misuse of the pork barrel funds by lawmakers surfaced when Santiago protested against then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s decision to give away P1.6 million to each selected senators as “Christmas bonus” last December.

 

During the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee hearing to probe the “pork barrel queen” Janet Lim-Napoles earlier this month, Santiago also asserted that Enrile is the “most guilty” on the pork barrel scam, involving P10 billion worth of misused government funds.

 

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