MANILA, Philippines – Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte announced that the Aquino administration agrees to partially lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of P12.2 billion from the allocated P25 billion.
This is due to the petition raised by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) through a 23-page comment to the Supreme Court which pleads the said request.
However, Valte said that it is only for the medical and educational assistance.
With the concern about the scholarship assistance, Valte said “that can be easily identified, given that they have submitted the documentary evidence.”
The comment filed by the OSG represents Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said that the decision of the court will be based on the hearings and jurisprudence.
The OSG claims that the TRO will give difficulty to citizens who depend on the PDAF operations specifically for educational and medical assistance purposes.
With this, they request to be excused from the said order.
The comment also mentioned names of those who relied on PDAF. Two of them are Flora Rivera, 62 years old, who “depends on the PDAF for her regular dialysis” at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Judy Grace Concordia who is a college student from Valenzuela who depends on the scholarship provided by PDAF.
Overall, 412,078 scholars depend on the pork barrel system.
“Most colleges are finishing the first semester, are about to give final examinations, and the second semester will open in about less than a month’s time,” OSG said.
OSG also expressed their concern to about 100,000 patients who will be affected of the TRO.
Princess Hayra Brecio de Belen
ABCom, Leyte Normal University