MANILA – 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.
It was a decision that may have come a little bit too late, as President Benigno Aquino III has already suspended the release of the pork barrel, or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), until the investigation on alleged scam involving these funds is finished.
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 also 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.”