Palace hopeful of Congress support despite SC ruling on PDAF

By Janice M. Cave

MANILA, Nov 20 (PNA) — A Palace spokesman is hopeful that even without the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Congress would still support the Aquino administration’s programs.

“We believe that Congress has the interest of the Filipinos in mind and the priorities of this government will be supported by the House and Senate because our concern is the concern of all Filipinos,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a media briefing.

He, however, refused to comment further as they have yet to receive a copy of the ruling.

“We’ve not seen a copy of the decision yet… We have to move forward and we have to see first the decision,” he said.

On Tuesday, the High Court voted 14-0-1 and declared the PDAF, commonly known as “pork barrel,” as unconstitutional.

Several petitioners have challenged PDAF’s constitutionality before the SC following reports of its misuse, as lawmakers in both houses of Congress were tagged in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Asked if the SC ruling would be the answer to end patronage politics in the country, Lacierda said: “The only way we can see that is how it spells out in the years to come.”

Meanwhile, the SC, voting 13-1, also ruled that the Malampaya fund can only be used for energy-related projects and not “for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President.”

Lacierda welcomed the ruling, saying the Palace is “in sync” with the High Court as far as Malampaya funds is concerned. (PNA)