Unconstitutionality of the Pork Barrel System. -
G.R. No. 208566/G.R. No. 208493/G.R. No. 209251. November 11, 2013
Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica, et al. Vs. Hon. Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr, et al./Social Justice Society (SJS) President Samson S. Alcantara Vs. Hon. Franklin M. Drilon, etc., et al./Pedrito M. Nepomuceno, etc. Vs. President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, et al.
Concurring Opinion - C.J. Sereno, J. Carpio, J. Leonen.
Concurring and Dissenting Opinion - J. Brion.
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The Issues Before the Court -
Based on the pleadings, and as refined during the Oral Arguments, the
following are the main issues for the Court‘s resolution:
I. Procedural Issues.
Whether or not (a) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions involve an actual and justiciable controversy; (b) the issues raised in the consolidated petitions are matters of policy not subject to judicial review; (c) petitioners have legal standing to sue; and (d) the Court‘s Decision dated August 19, 1994 in G.R. Nos. 113105, 113174, 113766, and 113888, entitled ―Philippine Constitution Association v. Enriquez‖114 (Philconsa) and Decision dated April 24, 2012 in G.R. No. 164987, entitled ―Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty v. Secretary of Budget and Management‖115 (LAMP) bar the relitigation of the issue of constitutionality of the ―Pork Barrel System‖ under the principles of res judicata and stare decisis.
II. Substantive Issues on the “Congressional Pork Barrel.”
Whether or not the 2013 PDAF Article and all other Congressional Pork Barrel Laws similar thereto are unconstitutional considering that they violate the principles of/constitutional provisions on (a) separation of powers; (b) non-delegability of legislative power; (c) checks and balances; (d) accountability; (e) political dynasties; and (f) local autonomy.
III. Substantive Issues on the “Presidential Pork Barrel.”
Whether or not the phrases (a) ―and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President‖ under Section 8 of PD 910,116 relating to the Malampaya Funds, and (b) ―to finance the priority infrastructure development projects and to finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines‖ under Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, relating to the Presidential Social Fund, are unconstitutional insofar as they constitute undue delegations of legislative power.
These main issues shall be resolved in the order that they have been
stated. In addition, the Court shall also tackle certain ancillary issues as
prompted by the present cases.
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WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. In view of the constitutional violations discussed in this Decision, the Court hereby
declares as UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
(a) the entire 2013 PDAF Article;
(b) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators – whether individually or collectively organized into committees – to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment, unrelated to the power of congressional oversight;
(c) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which conferred personal, lump-sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine;
(d) all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and
(e) the phrases (1) ―and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President‖ under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910 and (2) ―to finance the priority infrastructure development projects under Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, for both failing the sufficient standard test in violation of the principle of non-delegability of legislative power.
Accordingly, the Court‘s temporary injunction dated September 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be PERMANENT. Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF funds allocated for the year 2013, as well as for all previous years, and the funds sourced from (1) the Malampaya Funds under the phrase ―and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President‖ pursuant to Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910, and (2) the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase ―to finance the priority infrastructure development projects‖ pursuant to Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, which are, at the time this Decision is promulgated, not covered by Notice of Cash Allocations (NCAs) but only by Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), whether obligated or not, are hereby ENJOINED. The remaining PDAF funds covered by this permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund, while the funds under the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.
On the other hand, due to improper recourse and lack of proper substantiation, the Court hereby DENIES petitioners‘ prayer seeking that
the Executive Secretary and/or the Department of Budget and Management be ordered to provide the public and the Commission on Audit complete lists/schedules or detailed reports related to the availments and utilization of the funds subject of these cases.
Petitioners‘ access to official documents already available and of public record which are related to these funds must, however, not be prohibited but merely subjected to the custodian‘s reasonable regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on the same. This denial is without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they or the Commission on Audit may choose to pursue through a separate petition.
The Court also DENIES petitioners' prayer to order the inclusion of
the funds subject of these cases in the budgetary deliberations of Congress as the same is a matter left to the prerogative of the political branches of
Finally, the Court hereby DIRECTS all prosecutorial organs of the
government to, within the bounds of reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all funds under the Pork Barrel System.
This Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.
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