Judicial revolt and Aquino's mispriorities

Philippine Presidential Palace

Caroline Howard for ANC wrote:

One of the principles underlining Aquino III’s “reform budget” “is transparency and accountability to make government productive.” Clearly, the paltry allocation for the judiciary makes this objective a sham. More than this, the system of allotments governing the proposed budget betrays a particular bias and a retreat from the commitments made by the President especially his centerpiece anti-corruption program.

As noted by the economic think tank Ibon Foundation, Aquino III’s “reform budget” is extravagant with patronage funds and is vulnerable to corruption. Going against public clamor, the President not only maintained but also increased the PDAF by several folds. PDAF – or pork barrel – guarantees congressional alignment to the presidency in exchange for annual “development funds” much of which ends up in corruption.

However, it is precisely pork barrel and other perks provided by the chief executive that has undercut Congress’ independence and its role as a check-and-balance vis-à-vis the President. By maintaining and increasing the pork barrel, Aquino III in effect has given corruption a tacit endorsement. Governance by political patronage makes the Aquino presidency no different from Macapagal-Arroyo. The higher the expectation of the chief executive is from the dominant traditional legislators to support his legislative and political agenda the bigger the pork barrel must then be allocated.

The ProPinoy Project

  • Dear lord, not this line of attack? The Ibon Foundation’s criticism is unfounded as all the budget statement does is make previously “hidden” earmarks inserted in line agency (DPWH) budgets more explicit. So, no, the PDAF was not tripled. Had previous budgets been more transparent, they would have showed the same amounts being allocated as pork barrel.

    We can quibble about the total amount, but at least this govt had the courage to make it open and transparent and let the sun shine on all of these previously disguised forms of bargaining chips that the house uses to get Malacanang’s budgets passed.

    As for the accusation of “patronage” this is not I hope in reference to the increased CCT or 4P’s budget. As Solita Monsod counters in her column, this is not a “dole out” as some have characterized. Rather it is the “closest thing to a silver bullet” in the fight against poverty. http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=17786

    As I noted previously, PNoy’s priorities in this budget I feel put a greater emphasis on fighting poverty rather than corruption, and rightly so. The causal linkage between corruption and poverty is tentative at best.

    Only by promoting growth first through demand-side stimulus can the country reach a point where the institutions of Western capitalism (ie rule of law) become entrenched. As some gurus have pointed out, the cost of enforcing rules in Western countries is as high as 30% of GDP. We as a developing country can’t afford that at this point. The pressing needs of our indigent community are more important than adhering to some discredited Washington Consensus model.