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Lacson bares Malacanang, Congress conspiracy to keep pork alive after 2013

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It may no longer be called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), but the pork barrel system is still very much in place, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

Lacson, in an interview published Monday in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said Malacañang and Congress quietly kept alive the system where legislators can identify projects for funding.

“To put a veil on their post-enactment participation, in connivance with those in the executive branch, the legislators now identify their projects prior to submission of the budget to Congress, during the budget deliberations and even during the bicameral conference,” Lacson said.

He added these are being done “without official records or communication.”

Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte will need much political will to get rid of pork, as well as “honest and trustworthy technical advisers” who would alert him to the presence of pork.

The Inquirer report said Lacson provided a copy of “pro forma files” where congressmen can list down their projects and submit them to the Department of Budget and Management for inclusion in the National Expenditure Program (NEP), the draft budget prepared by Malacanang.

He said a neophyte congressman gave him a copy of the document from the House leadership.

Lacson has been vocal against the pork barrel system, delivering a privilege speech seeking its abolition as early as 2003.

He said the system presents temptations for corruption and in many cases leads to “half-baked, even ghost projects.”

“Under the pork barrel system, the government perpetuates corruption which effectively diverts the resources of government and denies the people the basic services they need. Hence, while pork barrel was called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), there is no development, especially in the far-flung communities of the country,” Lacson said.