Sunday, 8 September 2013

The beauty of the Philippines PDAF SCAM

September 8 2013
The term "pork barrel" in politics usually refer  to spending which is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. The term was made popular by the Americans in the late 19th century. The term pork barrel was used as a Homely metaphor for any form of public spending.
The Americans introduced this to the Philippines during the Colonial era and was abolished by President Marcos. This was reintroduced during the administration of President Corazon Aquino with the creation of the Countryside Development Fund (CDF) in 1990.  The CDF has Php 2.3 billion as an initial funding which was designed to allow legislators to fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects which fell outside the scope of the national infrastructure program, and which was often restricted to large infrastructure items. In 2000 during the administration of President Joseph Estrada, the CDF was later renamed the Public Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). 

PDAF allocation has gradually increased over the years. For example,for the year 2010 the allocated PDAF was Php 10.86 billion, it is  before President Gloria Arroyo stepped down. But during President Benigno Aquino III administration, they passed first budget for 2011 and the allocation was Php 24.62 billion which was more than doubled than the previous year.  The amount was divided into Php 70.0 M for each of the Congressmen and Php 200.0 M for each of the Senators beginning the year 2006.
During the regime of President  Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the PDAF became the biggest source of corruption among the legislators. "Kickbacks" were common and became syndicated using pre-identified project implementers including government agencies, contractors and bogus non-government organizations.

Firstly, we should open our minds with this facts. 
Transparency International is a global movement sharing one vision:" A world in which government, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption".  Now, the movement is present in more than 100 countries and works relentlessly to stir the world’s collective conscience and bring about changes.
Our country (the Philippines) ranks 105 in their corruption index which is one of the worst performers in East Asia. The Philippines have a score of 34 while Somalia ranked 174 with the score of 8,  and Denmark rank as number 1 with the score of 90. (Note: The score of 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and score of 100 means it is perceived as very clean).

First we should remember the fertilizer fund maintained by the Department of Agriculture, around Php 900 million in royalties earned from the Malampaya gas field were also lost to the scam. 
The PDAF scam involved the funding of "ghost projects" that were funded using the PDAF funds of participating lawmakers. These projects were  "implemented" through using Napoles' companies wherein the projects produced no tangible output. According to the testimony provided by Benhur Luy's brother, Arthur, that funds would be processed through fake foundations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)which was established under the wing of the JLN Group of Companies, the holding company of Janet Lim-Napoles. In Napoles' company, employees 'even a nanny' named as incorporators or directors. Each foundation or the NGO served as an official recipient of a particular legislator's PDAF funds. And each organization had a number of bank accounts where PDAF funds would be deposited for the implementation of these projects.
Napoles, who specialized in trading agricultural products, frequently used the procurement of agricultural inputs in the propagation of the scam. Either her employees would write to legislators requesting for funds for the implementation of a particular project (e.g. farm inputs) or a legislator would indicate to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a particular recipient agency for his or her PDAF funds that would be pre-selected by Napoles. Once it is received then this will be forwarded to the DBM wherein Special Allotment Release Order (SARO)was issued indicating the amount deducted from the legislator's PDAF allocation, and later a Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) given to the recipient agency. The NCA would then be deposited in one of the foundation's accounts and the funds wii be withdrawn in favor of the JLN Group of Companies.The funds would then be split between Napoles, the lawmaker, the official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) who is responsible for facilitating the transfer of funds, and for good measure, the local mayor or governor.The JLN Group of Companies offered a commission of 10-15% against funds released to local government units and recipient agencies of PDAF funds, while a legislator would receive a commission of between 40-50% against the total value of his/her PDAF.

Bong Revilla                 Php 1.015 billion
Juan Ponce Enrile         Php 641.65 million
Jinggoy Estrada           Php 585 million
Rizalina Seachon-Lanete Php 137.29 million
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.      Php 100 million
Conrado Estrella III    Php 97 million
Edgar L. Valdez           Php 85 million
Rodolfo Plaza               Php 81.5 million
Erwin Chiongbian        Php 65.35 million
Samuel Dangwa        Php 62 million
Robert Raymund Estrella Php 41 million
Gregorio Honasan     Php 15 million
TOTAL Php 2.928 billion

Senator Bong Revilla being  the topnatcher, who allows this dummy NGO's to access his PDAF for up to Php 1.015 billion. And yet he denies that he didn't know that it is a fake NGO.  If he did knew about it, then we can question his honesty or we might think that he could possibly had a share. Senator  Revilla still had the guts to face the Filipino constituents.  
How we can trust him as a leader in our country when he cannot even look after his own table. How he can guide  the 100 million Filipinos for a good future wherein he cannot even knew the difference between a true and fake non-government organization. It is clear as a crystal that he is not qualified for the job. He  won the position not because he knew about the job but because he is a member of a Political Dynasty and uses their money and popularity to wag the nose of the poor ordinary Filipinos. The best thing that we can do is to solemnly pray  that this issue will not be white-washed. That fair judgement will be done.  And at least one if not all  will be punished. Sad to say that only in the Philippines that politicians are described as "thickened skin". 

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