MANILA (Mabuhay) — Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Filipinos believe the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) continues even under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, Pulse Asia said in its latest survey.
The same survey showed that 45% – or as what Pulse Asia described a plurality opinion – already want to abolish it.
This is a far cry from the 30% that the survey gathered back in October 2004, the last time Pulse did the same study.
The latest survey was done between September 14 and September 27, when the alleged abuse of the PDAF hogged headlines, The survey was conducted before alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III for a case separate from the scam.
Last September 16, the Department of Justice filed plunder, graft, bribery and malversation raps against several individuals, including Napoles and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
By then, 9 of every 10 Filipinos have already heard, read, or watched something about the PDAF or pork barrel, Pulse Asia said. It noted that this awareness level transcended across socio-economic classes and geographic areas.
The same survey showed that 32%, or one in every three Filipinos, believe that politicians use the PDAF to get elected.
Meanwhile, 27% of Filipinos believe that the PDAF provides lawmakers the opportunity to receive bribes and commissions.
On the other hand, 23% of Filipinos believe it is used by the President to obtain the support of lawmakers for his administration’s priority bills.
Jinggoy speech during survey
Another major development during the survey was Estrada’s privilege speech, where he alleged that Malacanang gave incentives to senators who moved to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona. This would later be tagged as the Disbursement Acceleration Program, supposedly another form of pork.
The survey showed that 19% believe that the PDAF provides significant local development assistance.
President Benigno Aquino III already declared earlier that it is time to abolish the PDAF. Around 63% approved of his declaration, almost the same level as those who believe that corruption continues to exist.
Aquino was earlier criticized for merely wanting to change the name of the PDAF.
Abolishing the pork barrel
Senior Justice Antonio Carpio made Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza admit last week that the PDAF has not been abolished yet and Malacanang has no power to do so.
During the second day of the oral arguments on the constitutionality of the pork barrel, Carpio said the only way to abolish the PDAF is via a law passed by Congress or when the Supreme Court itself strikes it down.
“If there are anomalies, the President has the power to stop and investigate, but just suspend temporarily. At most, he can suspend,” he said.
The Pulse Survey was based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and up. It has a plus, negative 3% error margin at the 9% confidence level. (MNS)