Press Release
January 5, 2010


Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been exercising her power to impound pork as a political tool for the past five years.

"She has been exercising her power to impound pork not because of any lofty purpose but to give out or withhold political favor to help her allies and to strangle her political opponents," he said.

"She will continue to do so, and with more reason in 2010, for the result of the coming elections could shape her political future," Escudero, chair of the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of laws, said.

The bicameral conference committee had earlier inserted a provision that would make it difficult for Arroyo to impound certain portions of the P1.542-trillion national budget, particularly the allocations for lawmakers.

The Bicolano lawmaker's pork barrel was withheld from him from 2005 after he played a key leader in the impeachment complaints against Arroyo.

Because of the abuses by this government, Escudero filed a resolution last year urging the Senate committee on Finance proposing the repeal or amendment of Presidential Decree No. 1177 and Book VI of Executive Order No. 292 "with the end in view of reverting to Congress the power of the purse as prescribed by the Constitution."

He has also openly called for the abolition of the pork barrel and proposed substantial increase in the share of the IRA of local governments.

"Now that political loyalties have become uncertain, she will make use of the power of the purse in making sure that her allies will continue to toe the line and her enemies won't have the resources to wage an effective campaign against her," Escudero said.

"But there are limits to what this government can do to try to retain power. I am sure that the people will know what to do when the time comes," he said.

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