This is the argument of the executive and legislative branches of the government when they asked the Supreme Court to lift either partially or totally the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) declaring it as unconstitutional.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) provided a 23 page-comment arguing that the TRO would disrupt the “the operations of PDAF for educational and medical purposes especially on the lives of innocent citizens who rely on its operations.”
They further incited the cases of beneficiaries such as: Judy Grace Concordia, a college student from Valenzuela, whose scholarship depends on the budget and 62-year-old Flora Rivera who are undergoing regular dialysis which will be hampered if the TRO will be effective.
The TRO for this year’s PDAF, costs around PhP 12.2 Billion allocated from PhP 25 billion, which the court stopped last September 10 upon the petition of private citizens.
Solicitor General Francis Jaderleza said that 95 lawmakers currently have 412,078 scholars whose scholarship may be at risk if the court continues to withhold the PDAF.
The Palace supported the request, but only in the scope of medical and educational assistance stating that the “expenses can easily be identified due to submitted documentary evidences.”
Jaderleza further stated that the abuses of the PDAF “are problems of implementation and do not go into the constitutionality of the law.” He also claimed that the issues surrounding the pork barrel are purely political, not on the grounds of the law, in which the high court should not delve into.
Furthermore, Jaderleza also asked to dismiss the consolidated petitions for the abolition of the PDAF inciting that the administration is currently on the roll for reforms in the budget process. These reforms aim to safeguard the misuse of the pork barrel.
The request gains negative feedback from netizens saying that the reasons are only a means to masquerade a way to spend the budget incessantly. Some suggested that the budget should be given to implementing sectors of the government such as the Department of Education and Department of health for the scholarship and health assistance respectively.