Well, who didn’t see this coming?
Senator-elect and sumo wrestler Frank Drilon is now asking the Ngoyngoy to back down from his earlier stand to keep his hands off the pork barrel of the legislature.
Of course, Drilon wants our special president to control the pork barrel to use as leverage in the coming war for control of the lower and upper chambers.
Incidentally, the Big Man sa Senado is running for Senate Presidency. Go figure.
Expect another smear campaign versus Sen. Manny Villar, who is also eyeing the seat. LP must be thinking: it worked before, why shouldn’t it now? Combined with pork control (how appropriate for Frank), it should be a winning combination for the LP mafia.
Don’t you just love this country?
Here’s the Manila Standard Today article:
Drilon now wants Malacañang to control pork barrel
by Fel V. Maragay
SENATOR-ELECT Franklin Drilon on Friday advised incoming President Benigno Aquino III to ignore a provision in the General Appropriations Act prohibiting the chief executive from impounding pork barrel allocations to senators and congressmen.
Drilon, president of the Liberal Party, of which Aquino is the standard-bearer, said the next President should not be stripped of the power to withhold pork barrel to prevent jeopardizing essential government services, and particularly during tax collection shortfalls.
“In my view, it is wrong to insert a provision in the budget law providing for an automatic release of pork barrel funds because it is not in accordance with the Constitution,” Drilon told dzMM radio.
“As a matter of policy, we should give priority to essential programs and projects of government and not the pork barrel. Congress will appropriate, but the President will release.”
Quezon City Mayor and congressman-elect Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who ran under the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party but is now a Liberal Party member, downplayed reports that the next President would no longer have control over the pork barrel, of which P70 million is appropriated for each congressman and P200 million is allocated to every senator each year.
Access to the pork barrel is crucial to the voting for the speaker of the House, where Belmonte is a candidate, because whoever could guarantee its release is likely to win the post. President Gloria Arroyo has withheld the pork barrel of congressmen critical of her administration to make sure her allies remained loyal.
Aquino was the first senator to file a bill last year preventing the President from withholding the release of pork barrel allocations.
His Senate Bill 3121 was consolidated with other Senate bills with the same aim, and later Congress passed the General Appropriations Act of 2010 that included the impounding provision, Senator Edgardo Angara said.
“[Aquino] believes what Congress appropriates, the President must not impound or withhold,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate’s finance committee.
“It was a conviction that was honestly held.”
Malacañang on Friday washed its hands of the impounding provision.
“That is by the legislative act of the members of the legislature,” presidential spokesman Charito Planas said.
“This is their action. The President had nothing to do with it.”
Drilon, a former Senate president, made his statement Friday as the political parties braced themselves for the coming battle to control the Senate and the House.
Political analysts said Drilon most probably made the statement because the pork barrel issue would decide the outcome of the leadership fight in both chambers of Congress. Drilon himself is seeking to reclaim the Senate presidency.
The Liberals won 45 congressional seats in the May l0 elections, but Mrs. Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD party had 109 winners.
Mrs. Arroyo had earlier expressed interest in running for speaker following Lakas-Kampi’s numberical superiority, but she later said she no longer was interested in it. Analysts believe her sudden turnaround is due to fears many of her party’s members will defect to the Liberal Party.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the exodus of Lakas congressmen to the Liberal Party was inevitable because they would want to make sure they received their pork barrel.
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Artemio Panganiban’s column in the Inquirer raised a valid point for our special president-elect.
Noynoy has publicly criticized GMA’s appointment of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, saying that he would break tradition and refuse to be sworn in by the new chief magistrate. This early confrontation is symptomatic of the difficulties he would be facing.
Noynoy’s anti-corruption campaign would surely flounder without the cooperation—worse, with the enmity—of the Supreme Court, which reversed half a century of jurisprudence banning midnight appointments to usher the coronation of its new chief. The creation of a commission to investigate the Arroyos’ alleged ill-gotten wealth, similar to that created by his mother for the Marcoses, would amount to nothing without a cooperative Ombudsman and an unbiased judiciary.
But again, that is the problem with Noynoy that we’ve seen from Day One. He is a President of rhetoric and promises – but short on action if we judge by his non-performance in both Houses.
All the fuzzy, warm feelings that are being forced on Oh Noy readers by Noynoyistas – that we should shut up and just accept the victory of their anointed – are good if we see encouraging signs.
In the end, it’s better to be proven wrong than right about Noynoy Aquino. That would be the patriotic stand. Why would critics want Noynoy to fail? That is stupid and patently criminal. Sad fact of the matter is that if Noynoy stumbles, the whole country suffers.
But last time I heard, we were in a democracy. Why should turn a blind eye to disturbing acts and trends in the name of acceptance?
So Oh Noy soldiers on.