Aquino faces 4th impeach rap

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Monday, August 11, 2014

MANILA -- A militant teachers' group filed Monday the fourth impeachment case against President Benigno Aquino III for the alleged continuance of the pork barrel system in the proposed 2015 national budget.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT Teachers) accuses Aquino of betrayal of public trust by perpetuating "congressional pork" through informal practices in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling that declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of members of Congress as unconstitutional.

"His offense to the people is compounded by his deceit of the public, whom he led into believing that he has enacted a 'pork-less budget' and that he will comply with the law against congressional pork and eliminate once and for all, in all the agencies under his watch, acts by which pork is dealt to lawmakers," ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio said.

The group presented as evidence the audio recordings and public admissions by officials of at least three agencies, stressing congressional pork still exists through unwritten, informal practices.

The evidences include an audio recording of an "executive session" recently conducted by the House committee on appropriations to discuss with Commissioner Patricia Licuanan the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) scholarship program; an audio recording of a briefing conducted by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Janette Garin with some lawmakers in the House of Representatives and their staff to discuss the DOH Medical Assistance Program; and official press releases and news articles bearing admissions of the regional directors of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) that their offices invite and allow participation of lawmakers in the implementation of emergency employment and government internship programs.

"The mechanisms admitted by Aquino's alter egos and subordinates are necessarily informal—to conceal from the public the persistence of congressional pork barrel and the fact that the Chief Executive is subverting the law and public institutions. It is a mark of bad faith," the party-list lawmaker said.

Tinio added that by perpetuating congressional pork through informal practices, the chief executive "is committing, at the maximum, malfeasance in the performance of his official duties or, at the minimum, non-feasance by failing to prevent the perpetuation of congressional pork."

The group also charged Aquino with culpable violation of the Constitution, saying he violated the high court's ruling against PDAF.

"Aquino, being the President, also knows that all the principles violated by congressional pork barrel have constitutional underpinnings and are the very bases of a working democratic and transparent government," the lawmaker said.

Three impeachment complaints, two of them in relation to the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), mostly endorsed by militant lawmakers will be referred by the plenary to the House committee on justice on Monday. (Sunnex)

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