Ex-CJ Puno defends Carpio over PDAF
MANILA – Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno on Thursday came to the defense of his former colleague, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, for the latter’s statements that the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) is unconstitutional.
Speaking to ANC’s Headstart, Puno said it is normal for SC magistrates to ask different questions during the oral arguments in the High Court. He said that after the oral arguments, justices will still pore over the memoranda submitted to the Court and discuss its merits.
"Those questions - we cannot say that that is the conclusive position of one justice,” he said.
Carpio has come under fire after he said during Tuesday's oral arguments that the PDAF in the 2013 General Appropriations Act "is facially unconstitutional" even without a Commission on Audit (COA) report.
"You do not need a COA report," he repeatedly said during the hearing. "The 2013 provision on PDAF is riddled with unconstitutionality."
He added that the pork barrel system in the 2013 GAA violates the Constitution because it allows the President and Congress to share powers.
Carpio said under the 2013 GAA, Cabinet secretaries and congressional committees are allowed to realign funds, and projects are identified by legislators themselves.
"That power (to realign funds) cannot be delegated (to the Cabinet). This power to realign is unconstitutional," he said.
"When the Constitution says all appropriations shall emanate from the House, it has to be acting as a body, it cannot be one legislator or a committee," Carpio said. "A legislator or a House Committee is not Congress."
He believes PDAF has been institutionalized even if it is illegal.
For his part, Puno refused to say if PDAF is unconstitutional since the SC is already deliberating on the matter. However, he supported his earlier statement that pork barrel is evil.
"Nakita naman natin yan as a practice. The pork barrel system practice ay talagang hindi maganda. Wala namang makakapagduda na napakalaking salapi ang nawala diyan sa pork barrel system as we are practicing it. Tama naman po na hindi maganda ang sistema na yan at yang pananaw ay pananaw din ng maraming kababayan natin," he said.