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PDAF suspended, but not abolished, SolGen tells SC.

MANILA -- Despite Malacanang's pronouncements that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has been abolished, the government chief lawyer told the Supreme Court that the President has no power to stop it.

"Can the President abolish PDAF," Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza.

"Not in the sense of abolishing [PDAF] but the President has the general power to stop releases," Jardeleza told Carpio during part 2 of the oral argument on questions on the constitutionality of PDAF.

Carpio questioned Jardeleza why he asked for partial lifting of temporary restraining order in the use of the remaining 2013 PDAF for scholars and indigent sick people when it has been abolished.

Jardeleza said there was only a suspension of PDAF use for soft projects.

Earlier Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they were not bothered by Carpio's remarks that "the 2013 General Appropriations Act is riddled with unconstitutionality" because PDAF has been abolished.

"You know, the President has already announced that the PDAF has been abolished...They want to declare it unconstitutional. And so they want to make sure that it will no longer be enacted in some other time. But, as far as the executive branch is concerned, the President has already stated that we have abolished the PDAF," Lacierda said.

The President himself made the announcement last Aug. 23.

But during Thursday's oral argument, Carpio said PDAF could only be abolished if Congress passes a law or if the high court declares it as unconstitutional.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 10, 2013
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