Has PNoy changed mind on pork abolition?
MANILA -- The Commission on Audit (COA) has described as “appalling” the release of pork barrel to nongovernment organizations with links to fugitive Janet Lim-Napoles.
Immediately after Friday’s disclosure, a so-called national day of outrage has been set for August 26, National Heroes’ Day.
Despite the snowballing of reactions, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Sunday said they haven't asked President Benigno Aquino III if he has changed his mind regarding the proposed abolition of the pork barrel.
“We haven’t had the opportunity to talk [with the President] in light of the recent findings,” she said.
During her last discussion with Aquino, Valte said she got the impression that the President is not in favor of abolishing the priority development assistance fund (PDAF). Malacanang has been of the position that the PDAF was meant as a venue to provide help to those most in need.
COA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan said on Friday that 10 NGOs received some P2.157 billion in pork barrel between 2007 and 2009, or during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The special audit took three years to complete.
Asked if the audit had focused mainly on Aquino’s predecessor, Valte said: “Let’s go through the entire report. We go where the evidence will take us.”
She stressed, however, that in the Aquino administration, there have been “minimal involvement of NGOs,” noting that the implementing agencies for the release of the pork barrel have been mainly from the government.