Probe should include Aquino’s P24-B pork

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Since suspicions are rife that pork barrels of public officials are being misused amid the P10 billion pork barrel scam that is being played up against the political opponents of the administration, civic groups are now demanding a probe on President Aquino’s bigger P25 billion discretionary funds.

 

The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the Commission on Audit (CoA) should pursue a comprehensive audit on the P24.8 billion-pork barrel Congress had allotted for Aquino last year.

Pamalakaya vice chairman Salvador France made the appeal a day after Malacañang announced that the Office of the President will keep his pork barrel amid mounting calls demanding the abolition of pork barrel given to lawmakers and the Office of the President.

France said his group is supporting the demand for the abolition pork barrel currently given to senators and congressmen, including the President’s Social Fund (PSF).

“The Filipino taxpaying public including the urban poor who pay P3.60 in expanded value added tax for every kilo of rice is entitled to an honest-to-goodness audit of the pork barrel transferred to Aquino’s presidential account in 2012. The CoA should establish how the President spent his pork last year and present a honest accounting of public funds spent by the ruling political party in Malacañang,” France said.

The Pamalakaya leader lambasted Aquino for refusing to heed the legitimate demands of the people to have presidential pork abolished along with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers following the discovery of P10-billion pork barrel scam by CoA.

France said PSF is a potential source of money which the president and his allies can use for corruption since this kind of pork barrel is free from public scrutiny and government audit.

According to Pamalakaya, the Office of the President’s pork barrel in 2012 included the P2.695-billion in intelligence funds, of which, P666 million was earmarked for National Security Monitoring including requirements for the Presidential Anti-Organized and Syndicated Crime and Transnational Crime Campaign as well as P600 million for confidential and intelligence expenses which are released on approval of the President.
The group said in 2012, the Office of the President also sought P224.68 million budget for travel expenses alone.
Pamalakaya said Aquino exercises discretionary powers on the intelligence funds of the Office of the President, contingent funds, calamity funds and unprogrammed funds. About P1 billion pesos was given to President Aquino for contingent funds.

Pamalakaya said the contingent fund was administered by the Office of the President and used exclusively to fund the requirements of new and/or urgent projects and activities that need to be implemented during the year. This fund may be used to augment the existing appropriations for local and foreign travels of the President, but in no case shall it be used for the purchase of motor vehicles.”

The group said the Office of the President also received P14.2 billion for disaster management use, apart from entry from the calamity fund, which went up to P7.5 billion in 2012 from P5 billion in 2011. Daily Tribune