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SC no action yet on plea to disbar, cite Drilon in contempt over PDAF realignment

Senate President Franklin Drilon

Senate President Franklin Drilon

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Supreme Court has not taken any action yet on the petition filed by former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco seeking to disbar Senate President Franklin Drilon and have him cited in contempt of court.

In his petition, Syjuco wanted the high tribunal to disbar Drilon for filing Senate Resolution No. 302 that seeks the realignment of senators’ unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for 2013, to augment relief operations for calamity victims.

Also, the petition said: “This act of Respondent Franklin Magtunao Drilon is a clear defiance of the lawful order of the Honorable Court who issued a temporary restraining order as to the disbursement and release of the PDAF or pork barrel pending its constitutional determination.”

Eventually, on night of Oct. 22, Senate unanimously approved Resolution No. 302, which paved the way for the realignment.

“No action has been taken on this, pending a re-raffle of the petition,” said SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore Te.

Asked why Syjuco’s petition had to be “re-raffled,” Te said, “The petition raised PDAF issues pero hindi pala siya pareho sa consolidated petitions vs PDAF (currently pending with the SC). It’s treated as separate petition.”

On September 10, the SC ordered the executive department to stop releasing lawmakers’  PDAF for 2013.

At a press briefing last month, Te said the TRO covered not only the remaining PDAF of lawmakers for this year but also the discretionary portion of the controversial Malampaya gas fund.

The TRO enjoins the Department of Budget and Management, the National Treasurer, the Executive Secretary, or any persons acting under their authority from releasing:

the remaining PDAF allocated to members of Congress under the General Appropriations Act of 2013; and

Malampaya Funds under the phrase, ‘for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President’ under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910, but not for the purpose of ‘financing energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government’ under the same provisions.”

Te later clarified the TRO “restrained the release of the PDAF [and] not the inclusion of the PDAF” in the General Appropriations Act.  (MNS)

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