MANILA, Oct. 8, 2013— President Benigno Aquino III should be held accountable for the pork barrel mess because he has the last say to approve or suspend its release, a Catholic priest said.
Fr. Joe Dizon of the “#AbolishPork Movement” said Aquino is accountable for the misuse of the fund because he has the last say whether or not a lawmaker gets to have his or her pork barrel.
“We are holding President Aquino ultimately accountable for the entire pork fund mess,” Dizon said.
“It is within his power to push for changes in the system yet he stubbornly refused to do so, and instead promote the system of pork,” he said.
The priest said the issue on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has now reached Malacañang, with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) “now in the spotlight”.
What is “disturbing”, he said, is how the corrupt system of patronage has taken on new forms over the years.
“We have PDAF, then there is DAP, and now there’s even a so-called leadership bonus in Congress. Now we have so-called government savings being converted into pork,” Dizon said.
“This government does not want to do away with pork. It worships and wants to perpetuate the corrupt system,” he added.
Dizon reiterated that there should be complete abolition of the pork barrel system, not just a changing of names.
Aquino earlier downplayed criticisms amid alleged illegal use of public funds through the DAP, from which P12 billion was released to projects identified by senators and congressmen from 2011 to the present.
Asserting that the DAP is legal, the President also challenged his critics to file an impeachment complaint against him if his critics believed he deserved it. (CBCPNews)