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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, September 5, 2013
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COA checks on PDAF
for Negros LGUs

BY CARLA GOMEZ

The Commission on Audit in Negros Occidental had been directed to submit a report on the Priority Development Assistance Funds received by local government units in the province.

Arnel Jaranilla, supervising auditor for northern Negros Occidental, said they were directed to submit the report before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.

He, however, said he has no authority to divulge details of the information included in their report.

The local COA was not asked to submit a report on the PDAF for Negros Occidental released through non-government organizations.

The PDAF released through NGOs was covered by a recently released COA Special Audit Report.

Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday said 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 PDAF.

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

The SC on Tuesday asked Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who were named respondents in the petition, to comment within 10 days.

The petition asks that Drilon and Belmonte be restrained from enacting legislation appropriating funds for PDAF.

Drilon, clarified, 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 the budget for PDAF to the implementing agencies, he said.*CPG

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