Press Release
September 4, 2013

On SC's order to answer petition scrapping PDAF
Drilon: We will submit to the discretion of the court

The Senate will submit to the discretion of the Supreme Court in deciding on the petition by the Social Justice Society seeking to permanently stop the appropriation of funds for the Priority Development Assistance Fund, said Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today.

"We will submit to the discretion of the court based on the allegations of the petition and prevailing jurisprudence," said Drilon.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte who were named respondents in the petition to comment within 10 days.

The petition seeks that Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte be restrained from enacting legislation appropriating funds for PDAF. The Senate chief clarifies however that "it is the Senate and the House acting as collegial bodies that actually decide on the matter of appropriating funds." "In any case, we will submit to the discretion of the court," he added.

"We will ask the Supreme Court to make its ruling on the matter immediately before the budget is submitted to the floor for deliberation and approval," Drilon said. "The Senate only hopes for what is best and that good sense will prevail."

He reiterated that the Senate is supporting the abolition of the pork barrel, with 15 senators who already said they are willing to abolish PDAF.

Earlier, Drilon said the Senate will have to await the General Appropriations Bill as there are two options that may be adopted by the House with respect to the efforts to reform PDAF.

The House may opt to totally delete the appropriation for the pork barrel resulting in a reduced 2014 national budget or it may realign budget for PDAF to the implementing agencies, he said.

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