Lousy shot

In an effort to boost what would likely be an anemic showing at the polls next year, Liberal Party’s (LP) ace Mar Roxas is now banking on fake news harping on the supposed leap in the expenses of Office of the President (OP) during Rody Duterte’s watch.

The comparison of OP expenses, first off, was inaccurate in citing the six years of Noynoy against the two of Rody but was actually derived from the 2016 budget which was the final year of Noynoy and Rody’s first year allocation in 2017.

The tables in the page “Oras Na, Roxas Na” which obviously promotes Roxas and the LP candidates were made to appear in social media posts as a contrast to the spending norms of the two presidents.

The post was meant to mislead since while intelligence funds spiked under the OP as a result of the war on drugs, Rody’s discretionary funds were nowhere near the P500 billion yearly under the special purpose fund (SPF) of Noynoy.

The SPF is disbursed on the discretion of Noynoy while LP strategist Budget Secretary Butch Abad oversees its allocation.

Prior to 2013 when the Supreme Court (SC) declared it as unconstitutional, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was part of the SPF.

The PDAF is otherwise known as legislators’ pork barrel and was worth about P25 billion yearly that is distributed to members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The SC ruled that it is unconstitutional since the pork barrel violated the principle of separation of powers.

Legislators, as soon as they pass the annual budget law, should no longer have any participation in its implementation which is the realm of the executive, based on the SC decision.

Despite the SC decision, the lump sum funds remained as a fixture in the budget of Noynoy, on the excuse that the President needed quick-disbursing funds during calamities but which were never demonstrated during crisis situations such as that which hit the Visayas region through typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.

It was also Noynoy, Abad and their LP cohorts who designed the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) where government savings, which are budget allocations converted into discretionary funds, are pooled and disguised as an economic stimulus package.

The DAP has been assailed as another form of presidential pork barrel which as proof was its use as an “incentive” to senator judges after the conviction of former SC Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment court. Corona was the target of an ouster move spearheaded by Noynoy himself.

Both the DAP and the PDAF can only be disbursed through a lengthy process undertaken through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) headed by Abad.

Thus, it was the DBM that was the source of the Commission on Audit (CoA) for the Special Report on the PDAF covering the years 2007 to 2009 that resulted in the prosecution of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Then CoA chairman Grace Pulido-Tan admitted that documents used for the probe mainly came from the DBM which was selective in the release of papers related to the PDAF disbursements.

The central figure in the PDAF and DAP scams was also Abad.

For the pork barrel scam to prosper, it would have to go through the circuitous bureaucratic process that a few in government such as Abad would know.

Abad disbursed the PDAF and the DAP. He was the source of documents for the CoA report and consequently the evidence used in the plunder case against the three senators, Abad was the source of the DAP incentives to senator judges in the Corona trial, Abad would be the first to deny the involvement of allies in the PDAF scam and actually proved it by withholding documents.

The feeble attempt of Roxas at resurrecting the Daang Matuwid nonsense will only backfire and blow up his Senate candidacy.

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