Lower House agree to focus on legislative duties after SC PDAF decision


House members agreed Thursday to move forward and focus on enacting vital legislative measures and exercising its oversight functions for the benefit of the people. The “consensus” seem to emerge following the Supreme Court decision that the Priority Development Assistance Fund system was unconstitutional,

Rep. Rodolfo Albano III (1st District, Isabela) said Congress would focus on legislation especially about policy making that includes the allocation of resources, taxation and overseeing the funds of government.

Albano said Congress would also focus on performing its oversight functions specially on public spending.

“The SC decision was expected and practical. I am not sad about it because we can improve and go on. We can improve the budget system to ensure it must emanate from the policy makers. And as long as there is no political color attached to it, the system of dispensing services will redound to the benefit of the people,” said Albano, a member of the House Contingent to the Commission on Appointments.

Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said he foresees a paradigm shift in the legislature, which could lead to better governance and public service.

“In the past, most congressmen work hard to get projects for their constituents. Others may call it politicking, but usually our constituents look after the performance of a legislator in terms of the number of projects brought in the barangays. Now, I foresee longer debates, more scrutiny of legislative measures passed, more investigations, more oversight committee functions. It’s the birth of a new style of legislative proceedings which I hope would lead to better governance and public service,” Ungab said.

First-term Rep. Samuel Pagdilao (Party-list ACT-CIS) said the SC decision settles once and for all the PDAF issue, and it was time for lawmakers to move forward and focus on enacting important bills and exercising its oversight function.

“I welcome the decision of the SC on the unconstitutionality of the pork barrel which I hope will quiet the public and put to rest the controversial issue of the PDAF. Congress should now move forward and focus on enacting laws and exercising its oversight function,” said Pagdilao.

Pagdilao said that as a first term congressman, he has not experienced PDAF first hand but had heard of its good side from beneficiaries themselves.

“I have explained to my sector and constituents who expect no less than direct and immediate help and assistance from me as their Congressman that I will take it upon myself to seek answers to their needs not only through the enactment of remedial laws but also by representing them before the appropriate executive departments tasked to provide services and assistance,” said Pagdilao.

Earlier, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House can live with the SC decision and it would not be appealed. He said the House would instead work on a supplemental budget to rehabilitate calamity-devastated areas. He further said that everyone should see the bigger picture, which is clarifying the situation contributing to the removal of patronage politics. (PNA)

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