Press Release
July 15, 2015



Q: Lacson is saying in effect, nabuhay uli ang DAP and PDAF through some provisions in the GAA?

Serge: People never defined things properly. Pork barrel is PDAF, is CIA, is CDF. Maraming nomenclatures na binigay sa pork barrel. So, in the beginning when I first became senator it was Congressional Initiative Assistance. Then when it became controversial, they just changed the name and called it Countryside Development Fund. And then they changed the name again to PDAF. But it's the same animal, it's the same dog, but with a different collar.

Now, DAP is different. DAP is mere an open account inside the books of DBM kung saan nila tinatransfer ang savings in the middle of the year. At dinidispense nila sa ibang project. The Supreme Court ruled that was a wrong use of savings, because you have to wait until the end of the year and have it declared na, either natapos na iyong project at eto pa ang sobra, o hindi na itutuloy ang project na ito. That was the ruling of the Supreme Court. DAP was unconstitutional because there is no such item approved by Congress. Hindi namin ina-approve ang DAP, wala kaming ina-approve na DAP. DAP is an invention of the DBM. Pero ginagamit po nila ito parang storage tank, parang bodega, kunin mo dito, ilagay mo muna sa DAP. It's really more efficient. If I were an account I will see it that way. But it violates the Constitution. Ang sabi ng Constitution, you must approve the line-item budgets.

Q: Nakalagay sa GAA, dapat end of the fiscal year pa magde-declare ng savings, pero nakalagay daw sa GAA na by June pwede na daw mag-realign ng budget? Kaya daw in effect nabubuhay daw uli?

Serge: That's going to be challenged by somebody.

Q: Anong indications na nabuhay siya? Di ba wala ng PDAF sa budget?

Serge: Sinong nagsabi na walang PDAF?

Q: Officially, wala na po...

Serge: People are always confusing the name with the issue. PDAF is pork barrel. So if you say there is no PDAF, anong sasabihin mo sa taumbayan? 'Di bale, wala ng PDAF.' Eh pangalan lang iyong PDAF. But there is pork barrel. Q: Ngayon in what form na?

Serge: Noon, yung pork barrel nilalagay sa item code that is PDAF. Yung PDAF is the pork barrel for members of the legislature. So you can name whatever projects you want. For the congressmen, a total of P70 million. And for the senators, a total of P200 million per year. They call that PDAF. They call it by any other name, but it's still pork barrel.

Ngayon, sabi nila that the Supreme Court has ruled that PDAF is illegal. So, we will change the way that we will give you your pork barrel. Now we will give you your pork barrel, mag-identify ka na ng agency. So, okay, kunwari sasabihin ko...I want to spend all of my pork barrel on classrooms. Like 200 classrooms at P1 million each. May listahan ka ba? Wala pa. Hindi bale, ilalagay ko na lang dito, 200 classrooms for Sen. Osmena. Pero wala iyong pangalan ko sa budget, wala sa line item. All they will say is, what they will do is to put all the classrooms together, let's say P2 billion worth of classrooms and ipapasok iyan sa budget. That is pork barrel.

Serge: Pork barrel is very simple. It is a project chosen by a member of Congress that is not really in the original intent of the national government. In other words, pahabol lang iyan. Ang tawag sa America, 'earmark.'

Nabasa ko nga sa isang libro, campaigh strategies ni President Obama, that when Congress of the USA passed their spending bill - ang tawag nila sa budget nila ay spending bill. Dalawa ang proseso nila dun. One is to determine how much to be made available, and when that is approved, to determine how it will be spent. Dito our budget is just 1. It's the national government that tells us what is made available, P3 trillion, then we decide how it is going to be spent. So dumating kay Obama iyong spending bill, na-shocked si Obama. Kasi during the campaign nangako siya na he will not tolerate these kinds of practices anymore, iyong 'earmarked for', ang tawag sa atin ay pork barrel. There were 9,000 earmarks in the spending bill! Now remember there are 435 congressmen in the US, so if you divide that, that is about 20 projects, 20 earmarks per congressman. Hindi ho binibilang iyong senators pa. So, the realist in the Obama Cabinet said, 'Mr. President you have to sign that. Otherwise, we won't get a spending bill.' And you know what? He signed it.

What I am saying is, pork barrel is necessary to keep the wheels of legislature moving. What is illegal is stealing the media. So learn to distinguish that. Sana naman sa media, don't keep on confusing the people like, 'may PDAF na naman po.' Just call it pork barrel. Whatever name they want to call it, it's still pork barrel.

Ngayon, pork barrel is not illegal. Hindi po labag sa batas. I keep on telling iyong mga NGOs na nagpupunta dito, nagko-complain, I tell them to do their homework. Pork barrel is not illegal. It is practiced all over the world. It is frowned upon, yes, but it is not really illegal. But sometimes we need that to keep legislature moving. Pagbigyan din naman natin ang mga congressmen na makapagdala ng projects sa kanilang distrito. Huwag naman sumobra.

What is illegal is stealing the money. Kickbacks. Choosing your contractors. Walang bidding. Overpricing. That is what is illegal. But PDAF per se, there is nothing in the law that prohibits pork barrel.

Q: Not even the SC ruling?

Serge: Nope. Kasi sabi nila noon, under the term PDAF or whatever they called it in the past, was just a lumpsum item without even any project named. Nakalagay lang dun, Congress of the Philippines, P24 billion. Eh alam mo naman kung paano ang pag-divide niyan, yung para sa congressmen, P70M at yung para sa senators,P200M. They said, no, that is not legal. You have to approve the particular project when you pass the budget. So dapat nakasulat dun, classroom. Halimbawa, Jose Rizal Memorial School, P1M. classrooms, Mabini HS, P1M. Dapat nakalista iyon pero hindi nila nililista.

Q: Under the old system, open sa corruption kasi may role ang legislators sa implementation pagkatapos mapasa ang budget?

Serge: No. Legislators do not have any roles in the implementation. The only thing that we do is to identify.

Q: pero nage-endorse ng mga NGOs, etc?

Serge: That's the fault of the agency. Hindi dapat nakikiaalam ang mga legislators diyan. All I do is, I just write a letter and I forget about it. Dear so and so. Please allocate 7 classrooms to Malate Elementary School. Thank you, Sen. Osmena. Against my PDAF account. Hindi ko na nakikita ang pera. Hindi ko na alam kung kine-carry out na nga nila eh. Hindi ko sinusundan. But, there are some who would go out of their way and say, 'O, akin iyan ah. Eto ang contractor ha. Ang worse pa, binibigay nila sa NGO nila, yung kontrolado nila. So pagdating ng pera sa NGO, ayun na.

Q: Ngayon wala ng ganun?

Serge: I don't know if there is room. It would not be accurate to say that there is no more room for that. Kaya nga nakikita nga natin na ang daming palusot eh. You just have to be alert.

Q: But pork right now is more specific when it comes to projects, hindi na lump sum? Itemized projects? Na-lessen ang dangers?

Serge: Hindi na-itemize. Na-transfer from an account called 'PDAF pork barrel' into Department of Public Works... a little messier for the accounting of DBM, to the Department of Education, to the DAR, to the DENR, it just transferred.

So, halimbawa, kung may isang senador na naglagay ng pork barrel, baka sabihin nila, 'o Sen. X ha, yung P30M mo nasa DPWH, yung P20M nasa DAR, P20M nasa DENR, P20M nasa DOTC..' Ganun iyan. So, it's messier now also for me because I have to keep track of all of those agencies.

Q: Naka-pangalan pa rin sa inyo?

Serge: Oh yes. Naka-earmark na iyan. Earmark nga ang tawag diyan sa US. Earmarked for this congressman, earmarked for this senator...

Q: And the senators and the congressmen have the authority to align projects...? Sila ba ang may karapatang mag-sabi how that money will be spent?

Serge: Yes. How that money will be spent, because that money is reserved, is earmarked, for me. And that's what the SC said. Hindi pwedeng post-budget approval ang power to initiate a project. Dapat nakalista na, para transparent. So if you want a legitimate use of pork barrel, iyan na. sasabihin ko na, i-e-enumerate ko na in the beginning. Alright...P1M to this school, P1M to that...alam niyo na, very open iyan.

Q: Marami bang legislators ang hindi nag-identify?

Serge: I don't know what they did. I have no access to the list of the DBM, or to the list of the House.

Q: You're saying there's nothing wrong with the pork barrel...

Serge: I am not saying there's nothing wrong, that's frowned upon. What I am saying is, it's not illegal. Hindi mo ako makakasuhan kung gagamitin ko ang pork barrel ko dahil wala akong ginawang masama. Now if you prove that I took a kickback, now that's illegal.

Q: Right for Lacson to question that?

Serge: yes. Because iyon na nga, imbes na magiging one big lump sum lang sa PDAF, nagiging maraming lump sum na nakasalang sa iba't ibang ahensiya. So yes, he is on the right track.

Q: Bakit lumusot ito?

Serge: Hindi nga illegal eh. And like I said, if we are going to be practical, you'll never get anything to Congress unless you have some sweeteners. I saw this in US, in England. And while we don't like it, while many people would frown on it, pagbigyan mo na ?


Q: Pnoy dinner with M-G-C, deciding event na to?

Serge: Hindi ko alam. I don't have an inside track if this is going to be the deciding event. Mukhang mahinang manligaw si PNoy,

Q: Bakit?

Serge: Well, it's taking him so many meetings. And eto lang analysis ko lang ito huh. PNOY wants to remove Grace from the presidential picture because she's getting a lot of votes, He would rather name Mar as the presidential candidate and have Grace run as the VP of Mar. Di ba? Natural lang yun. You must eliminate your opponent. Sa tantya ko lang, Mar will get about, if Grace withdraws from the presidential run, maybe 60 percent of her votes will go to Mar. Then the other 40 will probably be divided to Binay, Duterte, and others .. so advantage kay PNOY yun.

But if the President is unable to convince her to be a member of his coalition, he's not that strong a leader. Eh pag sinabi ni Grace Poe na she will run for president as an independent, break sya sa coalition di ba? Eh di humina ang coalition ang party. So if the President cannot convince Grace Poe, how can he convince the voters to make his own candidate win? So he has to convince that Grace will stay married to the Liberal Party.

Q: Are you advising Sen. Poe?

Serge: I won't advise. We're out of touch but, just looking at it from her perspective, her perspective lang huh, I'm not talking about political strategy.... She would be better off, and she would make a better president, if she has six years of vice president, because she's fairly new in this game. This is not all about national politics and winning the elections. After that, the big work comes, the headache comes, running the country. At nakikita natin, napakahirap nun. If you stumble around, then the whole country stumbles with you. However, she's got the gifts, the talent to run for president. So if she serves as VP for 6 years. In 2022, she's a sure winner. That's only from her point of view...that's the safest place to go because right now, for president, sure she's leading in the surveys and we're happy to see that but anything can happen also in the campaign.

Nakita ko ito dati pa. I took the first survey for PNoy, he was not a candidate, this was Sept 1, after the interment of Tita Cory, he was leading Sen. Villar by 50 percent to 20 percent. Ang layo. All over the country, surveys in Davao, surveys in Cebu, surveys in Negros province, incuding a town in Palawan, and Pangasinan. So by January, 5 and a half months later, they were tied 35, 35. Better example is, in January, I remember that Mar Roxas was at 49 percent, Loren was at 30 and Jojo Binay was at 12. 12, 49-12. By April survey, Jojo Binay was 37 and on election day, Binay was 40, Loren was 36. So anything can happen, it depends on how you run the campaign.

Q: Last month sabi nyo Poe's best option was to run for president as independent?

Serge: If she wants to run for president, don't run with the LP, kasi may mga issues din yung mga LP noh. Yung nakikita ko kay Grace, malinis sya. She's perceived as being good and her legislative work, she's personally popular. Wala syang negative. Now, if you join forces with the LP, lahat ng negative ng LP lalabas. As a matter of fact, 70 percent of the voters, based on the surveys, thinks that PNoy is honest but covers up for his corrupt associates. So ayun na, meron nang perception ang tao.

I am not saying she should, I am saying if I were her. Now I'm looking at it from her point of view, that's the safe route to go. Safe yan.

Q: Safe route to run with Mar?

Serge: That's good for Grace, now whether Mar can still win I am not sure.

Q: What about Sen Chiz? Iwan na lang nya?

Serge: He can wait, you know you cannot accommodate everybody who wants to be President, otherwise we'll be talking to Pnoy, well be talking to Duterte. You know the President has to make an executive decision. And he has to be firm about it ...

Q: Hindi possible na mag give way si Mar this time?

Serge: Possibility or probability? Because there's a difference.

Q: Probable for Mar to give way for Poe-Escudero tandem sir?

Serge: I don't see that as a probability because who will now carry the Liberal Party? So just for the sake of the local candidates the LP wold have to put up a presidential candidate.

Q: Is it possible na may I-offer si Pnoy dun sa hindi ma-accommodate? Cabinet position etc.? Para lang ma-settle?]

Serge: Yes, there'll always be trade-offs. When you have a meeting like that, there's a lot of give and take. Pero, I really cannot predict. I can only analyze that this is the direction of PNoy, how he intends to achieve it is another matter.

Q: Sa tingin nyo walang monetary consideration? Offer ng pera? Malabo?

Serge: Meaning you will bribe? Usually during the latter part of the campaign, I'll not mention anyone. Yung malayo na, running number 4 , minsan lumalapit sila sa .. I'll be owing you a favor if you cover my expenses.. mabawi ko lang yung nalabas ko na.. there would be offers like that. But it's not always accepted.

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