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February 18, 2014 Tuesday

Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or Pork Barrel

Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or Pork BarrelPriority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or Pork Barrel is a yearly lump sum or discretionary fund or regular allocation of public funds for the members of Congress (Philippine Senate and Philippine House of Representative- district representatives and party representatives) in the Philippines. The congress then uses this fund for government programs that can benefit the people (fund the priority development programs and government projects) without going through the normal budgetary process or the Executive branch. Its main purpose is to give legislators easy access to capital so that they can have projects that can improve their constituents. PDAF involves people’s money which means that it should be used for the benefit of the people.

Every year Philippine House of Representative (district representatives and party representatives) is allotted 15,000 pesos to 1 million pesos (commonly around 35,000) per recipient.
Every year Philippine Senators is allotted 15,000 pesos to 100,000,000 million pesos (commonly around 50,000 to 100,000) per recipient.

Projects that the congress can use their PDAF to improve their constituents respectively:

1. Public works
2. Certain national defense spending
3. Agricultural subsidies
4. Building and roads
5. Scholarships
6. Medical expenses

Who appropriates, allocates and disburses PDAF or the pork barrel and the flow of how the pork barrel works:

1. Department of Budget and Management or DBM asks lawmakers to submit list of projects to be funded from the pork barrel allocations.
2. Lawmakers submit list to DBM.
3. Implementing agency executes projects and conducts bidding or negotiated purchase.
4. Contractors or suppliers offer their goods or services (rate of kickback negotiated with lawmaker).
5. DBM issues Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA).
6. Contractor commences work or suppliers deliver goods.

The 10 Billion Pork Barrel Scam

The 10 billion pork barrel scam started with the accusation that JLN Corporation (trading company or syndicate with office address at 25th floor Discovery Suites Ortigas Center, Pasig City), which is headed by Janet Lim Napoles with his brother Reynaldo “Jojo” Lim, has defrauded the government of 10 billion over the past 10 years wherein they use the funds from the pork barrel of lawmakers with her vast network and various government agencies for ghost projects that involved the creation of at least 20 fake or bogus NGOs.

Benhur Luy (31 years old, cousin of Napoles and personal assistant in JLN Corp.) is the whistleblower of this pork barrel scam. He said the Napoles work by forging signatures of local governments, fabricating names of beneficiaries of state funds and manufacturing receipts.

1. Establish fake foundations or non-government organizations, with Napoles’ close associates, including a nanny, named as presidents.
2. Napoles herself would talk to the senators. The staff would convince LGU to agree that the fund be released to Napoles’ NGOs, with the promise of commission.
3. The “special projects” team would handle all paperwork, including forgery, so that even LGUs would not know of the scam.
4. Funds are deposited in the foundations’ bank accounts. Funds are remitted to Napoles, who splits with lawmakers (40 to 60 percent of PDAF goes to the lawmaker in exchange for the right to determine implementing agency and fund beneficiary), or the officials of involved agencies.
5. “Special projects” team form part of Napoles’ racket. Their job includes the creation of a foundation, the naming of fake beneficiaries, and the withdrawing of money to be delivered to Napoles.

Members of Senate and Congress identified as participants of the PDAF scam or Pork barrel scam:
1. Senator Bong Revilla (1.05 Billion)
2. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (641.65 million)
3. Senator Jinggoy Estrada (585 million)
4. House of Representative Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (137.29 million)
5. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (100 million)
6. House of RepresentativeCornado Estrella III (97 million)
7. House of Representative Edgar L. Valdez (85 million)
8. House of Representative Rodolfo Plaza (81.5 million)
9. House of Representative Erwin Chiongbian (65.35 million)
10. House of Representative Samuel Dangwa (62 million)
11. House of Representative Robert Raymund Estrella (41 million)
12. Senator Gregorio Honasan (15 million)