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  1. 1. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES SUPRBIIB COURT MANILA Bll BAIIC SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIE'IY (SJS) PRESIDENT SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, Petitioner, - versus - G. R.IIO. 208493 HONORABLE FRANKUM DRIWN, in his capacity as Senate President, and HONORABLE FEUCIANO BELMONTE, JR. in his capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives. PROBIBITIOR Respondents. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• REPLY PBTITIOBBR SJS PRESIDENT SAMSON S. ALCANTARA respectfully alleges, in Reply to respondents' Consolidated Comment, copy ofwhich was received by him on September 25, 2013, that: 11} Petitioner does not question the authority of the political branches of government to undertake reforms purportedly to address abuses of the PDAF. But he cannot help asking: WHY ONLY NOW? When the system, which has spawned widespread, pervasive and systemic corruption in this land, should have been eliminated years ago. By their inaction or tolerance, the system has been allowed to Oourish, resulting in the loss of billions of the taxpayers' money, huge amounts of which have even dumped in the bathtub of a Janet Napoles. Indeed, respondents have no reason to resist intervention by this Honorable Court. 12) Petitioner does not seek a judicial solution of this plague called PDAF. He merely pleads that this Honorable Court, in the exercise of the
  2. 2. G. & NQ. ••RIREPLY judicial power, allocate constitutiOnal boundaries, for the guidance of respondents who are supposedly crafting refonns, so that the same will be in conformity with the fundamental law, and for the peace of mind of the Filipino people who are massfug in the streets and demanding the abolition of the Pork Barrel. Petitioner does not believe that, as hinted by respondents, this Honorable Court may make a Cflasty" constitutional interpretation. f3) Obviously, to diffuse public outrage, respondents have reportedly abolished the PDAF or are about to do so. But there is no assurance, considering the huge monetary benefits derived therefrom by members of Congress, that such supposed abolition is not purely cosmetic; it could be resurrected in another fonn and under a different name. Petitioner therefore earnestly urges this Honorable Court to decide the petitions on the merits. The Court can decide a question otherwise moot and academic but capable of repetition yet evading review. (Sarmiento et al vs. Treasurers of the Philippines et al., G. R. Nos. 125680 and 126313, September4, 2001) (4) It is true that this Honorable Court in the PHILCONSA case, decided in 1994, upheld the constitutionality of the PDAF, then known as the Countrywide Development Fund or CDF. It was therein ruled that the procedure of proposing and identifying by members of Congress of particular projects or activities was •imaginative as it is innovative." At that time the allocation per member of the House of Representatives was only P12,000,000.00 and P18,000,000.00 per senator. These amounts have in 2013 ballooned to P'lo,ooo,ooo.oo per member of the House of Representatives and P200,000,000.00 per Senator. Surely, these will double or triple in the near future, unless the pernicious practice is stopped now by this Honorable Court.
  3. 3. G. R. NQ. MtNIREPLY (St Worse, the members of Congress have used their "imaginative" and "innovative" traits to siphon PDAF funds for ghost projects or useless activities and through fake NGOs misappropriate billions of taxpayers' money to support their political activities, insure their reelection, and perpetuate their political dynasties. Revenues collected through taxation should be devoted only for a public purpose. To lay with one hand the power of the government on the property of the citizen and with the other to bestow it on favored individuals is nonetheless a robbery though it was done under the forms of law and is called taxation. (Citizens Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland, Ohio vs. City of Topeka, 20 Wall (US) 655, 663, 22 L Ed. 455) (6) The constitutionality of the PDAF was also sustained by this Honorable Court in LAMP et al vs. The Secretary of Budget and Management et al., G. R. No. 164987, April 24, 2012, but mainly because the petition was "seriously wanting in establishing that individual Members of Congress receive and thereafter spend funds out of PDAF' and "surmises and conjectures are not sufficient for the Court to strike down the practice for being offensive to the Constitution.• But "surmises• and •conjectures• are now things of the past. Hereto attached as ADaex "A• is a list of observations of the Commission on Audit in its Special Audits Office Report on the PDAF for the years 2007 to 2009, strongly indicating anomalies and misuse of the funds. A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered circumstances. (Central Bank employees Association, Inc. vs. Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas et al., G. R. No. 148208, December 15, 2004) (7) Respondents aver that the repol'ted abuses of the PDAF are problems of implementation and do not go into the constitutionality of the law. Petitioner respectful)y submits that the Pork Barrel System, as
  4. 4. Q. & NO, aatpftEPLY embodied by the PDAF, poses dangers which cannot be solved through mere prosecution of the offenders. The process can take years. Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno condemns the system as an "evil" and should be abolished. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCB) calls it an act of terrorism. It is the mother of all scandals and very destructive of society. The characters involved therein are not ordinary citizens but members of Congress who should be looked up to as models of honesty and integrity but are now being exposed as serious violators of the very laws they themselves have enacted, and raiders of the public treasury. As a matter of fact, they themselves are now quarrelling over the alleged use of the PDAF in connection with the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Most certainly, if the system is susceptible of improper or illegal implementation, the best way to solve the problem would be to totally eliminate it. If it permits a continuing and blatant violation or circumvention of express constitutional mandates, it should be outlawed without further delay. The monster itself should be slain at once. f81 For this Honorable Court to lift the TRO would be to allow the release of millions of taxes for very questionable projects, activities and transactions, thereby enabling the lawmakers to still continue with the pernicious practice caUed Pork Barrel, which ·they themselves have supposedly deleted from the 2014 General Appropriations Act. The grave and continuing injury to the Filipino people should now be stopped. f91 Respondents, by asking for a partial lifting of the TRO, based on humanitarian grounds, h&s in effect admitted the validity thereof. WIIICRBI'ORB, it is respectfully prayed that respondents motion to lift the TRO be denied, and that the reliefs sought in the Petition be granted.
  5. 5. G. R. NO. 2011131REPLY Petitioner prays for other just and equitable relief. Manila, Philippines, October _1_, 2013. SAIISOK 8. ALCAIITARA ,.- Petitioner Suite 1402 14th Floor Manila Astral Tower 1330 Taft Ave. cor. P. Faura St. Ermita, Manila IBP 933677/3-11-2013/Abra PI'R 1696673/3-7-2013/Mla. RoD No. 12841 MCLE Exemption No. UI-001807/10-6-10 Tel. Nos.: 5216984/4980382 COPY FURlOSJIBD: BY REGISTERED MAIL. PERSONAL SERVICE CANNOT BE MADE DUE TO ( A JMME CONSTRAINTS [/fMESSENGER NOT AVAILABlE ( ) HEAVY TRAFFIC [ ] INCLEMENT WEATHER ~/ Tile 8ollcltor a.-~Office of the Solicitor eral 134 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village 1229 Makati City ONCO Aatoaio11a Beda B. Bei&Jca, et al. PetitioneninG.R.No.208566 Suite 704 Trinity Building T. M. Kalaw Avenue, Manila Peclrlto .. Repoaaceao Petitioner in UDK 14951 No. 1 Sta. Lucia Street Barangay Kapitolyo 1603 Pasig City
  6. 6. EXCERPTS FROM COA SPECIAL AUDITS OFFICE REPORT No. 2012-03 1) Releases out of PDAF were not efficiently monitored and tracked, if at all. Despite repeated requests, the DBM failed to provide the summary of releases per legislator and lA out of PDAF. (Page 33) 2) While DBM provided summary of releases out ofVILP in the amount of P32.347 Billion, around P69.261 Billion were found in Audit to have been also released to different DPWH ROs and DEOs during CYs 2007 to 2009. This brings total releases out of the VILP to P101.608 Billion, which already exceeded the combined appropriation of P50.874 Billion for the 3-year period by P50.734 Billion. (Page 34) 3) Amounts released for projects identified by 74 legislators significantly exceeded their respective allocations. (Page 35) 4) Funds were released by the DBM even for projects outside the legislative districts ofthe sponsoring Congressmen. (Page 38) 5) Significant amounts of funds were released by the DBM to lAs without the lAs' respective endorsements and considering their mandated functions, and administrative and technical capabilities to implement project. Thus. the funds were either merely transferred to NGOs with implementation of projects hardly monitored or funds remained unused as of audit date. NGOs are not included among the lAs of PDAF as identified in the GAA, hence, such transfers are without legal basis. (Page 39) 6) The implementation of most of the livelihood projects was not undertaken by the lAs themselves, but by the NGOs endorsed by the legislators. inspite of the absence of any appropriation law or ordinance as required under GPPB Resolution No. 12-2007. (Page 46) 7) Selection of NGOs were not compliant with the provision of COA Circular No. 2007-001 and GPPB Resolution No. 12-2007 and their implementation of projects was merely covered by MOA not complaint with existing regulations. (Page 48) 8) Even worse, all the 82 NGOs, entrusted with the implementation of 772 projects amounting to P6.156 Billion. along with their suppliers and reported benefidaries, are either unknown or cannot be located at their given addresses, or have given non-existent addresses, or addresses traced in a mere shanty or in high-end residential units without any NGO signage, or submitted questionable documents, or failed to liquidate or fully document utilization of funds. This was aggravated by- the denial of a number of suppliers and recipients/beneficiaries, and even sponsoring legislators on their participation on the reported projects. (Page 49) 9) Irregularity in the implementation of livelihood projects was also manifested in the purported multiple attendan<;e of the same beneficiaries to the same or similar trainings in as many as 15 times and multiple receipts of the same or similar kits and/or conduct of the same or similar trainings for several times in the same barangays. Moreover, some beneficiari~ who claimed to have attended the livelihood trainings, did not, in any way, use such training in establishing a business. (Page 61-62)
  7. 7. 10) Releases by TRC to two LGUs to conduct training for the establishment and management of rubber plantation and distribution ofrubber seedlings amounting to PlO.O Million remained unliquidated. The documents submitted to the Team upon request were also found deficient. In addition. the submitted documents by DA-RFU XI for the transfer of funds to another LGU for the implementation of livelihood project was also not supported with liquation documents. (Page 69) 11) Livelihood items procured by three DA-RFUs in the total amount of P152.408 Million were not compliant with the provisions of RA No. 9184. These were not properly advertised and, in several instances, awarded to suppliers, identified by the legislator and/or of questionable legal and physical existence. In some other cases, a number of items procured are no longer eligible under PDAF and were not supported with distribution list. The submitted distribution list for one project is even questionable as a number of recipients denied receipt of the items purportedly distributed or otherwise cannot be located at their given addresses. The items procured by DSWD-RFO Ill for Day Care Center were also not eligible for funding under PDAF and not the priority of, the recipients. (Page 71) 12) Funds amounting to P107.024 Million were released by six lAs to various cooperatives and associations to finance their respective micro financing activities andjor procure various equipment and supplies for their own operations. DPWH-Tarlac 1st DEO also constructed project for the use of Cooperative Bank of Tarlac. The cooperatives are private institutions composed of private individuals. Hence, such use of funds is questionable as it does not come within the purview of public purpose. Moreover, the implementation ofsome ofthese projects is questionable as a number of recipients denied receiving the items. (Pages 80-81) 13) Loans granted by DSWD-RFO XI to a number of SEA Kaunlaran Associations (SKAs) members were not strictly monitored. A number of borrowers were either not paying on time or not paying at all as of September 9. 2010. The existence of a number others cannot even be established as they are either unknown or have moved out from their given addresses or the addresses given were insufficient. (Page 86) 14) Forty-one projects costing P1.393 Billion implemented by DPWH ROs and DEOs, and selected LGUs were found deficient by P46.262 Million. These were either not strictly constructed in accordance with plans and specifications or otherwise included excessive quantities of RPS and other construction materials. (Page 89) 15) Fifty-four projects costing P161.498 Million were constructed on private properties without documents to support the turn over of such properties to the government, if at all. The prohibition on the use of public funds for the development of private properties was already settled by the Supreme Court under "Pascual vs. Secretary ofthe Public Works"- G. R. No. L-10405 dated December 29, 1960. (Page 92) 16) Contract costs of a number of projects were excessive by P100.989 Million due to erroneous application of rate for Item 302, double application of indirect costs, splitting of contracts. use of excessive rental rates, and inappropriate unit cost for excavation and embankment. (Page 95) a) The rate applied in computing the quantity of Item 302 in 37 projects was erroneous resulting in excessive quantitates costing P4.953 million. (Page 96)
  8. 8. b) While the unit cost for asphalt used in 131 projects was already inclusive of indirect cost the unit cost was again subjected to indirect cost resulting in cost difference of P90.340 Million. (Page 98) c) The contract for the restoration of damaged revetment/dredging of flood control of Meycauayan River was split into eight contracts contrary to law, thus, allowing the allocation of higher indirect cost. Moreover, the unit costs used for excavation and embankment were also inappropriate for the types of materials excavated and used as embankment. while equipment rental rates exceeded ACEL rates. The rental rates applied in 151 other projects also exceeded the ACEL rates. All these deficiencies resulted in combined excess costs of P10.257 Million. (Page 104) d) Two other projects implemented by the City Government of Las Piiias applied erroneous indirect cost which resulted in cost difference of P253,000. (Page 109) 17) At least 90 projects implemented during CYs 2007 to 2009 were either unutilizedfnot fully utilized indicating that the funds could have been used for more urgently needed projects, or not property maintained and in the state of deterioration, or construction not properly planned and thereupon replaced or already in the process of replacement (Page 110) 18) The cost allocated for safety and health, and other miscellaneous items were not computed in accordance with DPWH DO No. 56, series of 2005. These items, which include procurement of various furniture, equipment and vehicles, were included in infrastructure contracts in lump sum amounts without detailed computation, in percentages ranging from 0.013 percent to 11.405 percent for each item and billed by the contractors as programmed. This included procurement of motor vehicles without the required approval of the President (Page 112) 19) Similar projects to be completed within almost the same time and at the same cost were provided special items in lump sum and varying amounts. (Page 114) 20) Disbursements amounting to P1.289 Billion were not compliant with the provisions of R. A No. 9184 and other existing rules and regulations, with substantial amounts supported with questionable documents. Moreover, transactions amounting to P234.213 Mi11ion were not dowmented. The corresponding DVs cannot be submitted to the Team despite repeated requests. (Page 120) 21) Significant releases to LGUs were used for purposes no longer within the menu prescribed in the GAA Moreover. financial assistance for various purposes granted to various individuals and associations were released without establishing the need for assistance. Expenses also included those pertaining to the operations of the LGUs and other government offices including the Offices ofthe Congressional Districts. (Page 126) ooOoo