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BELGICA V.

OCHOA
[G.R. No. 208566; November 19, 2013]
Facts:
• Several concerned citizens sought the nullification of the Priority Development Assistance Fund
(PDAF) for being unconstitutional. Petition was dismissed for lack of pertinent evidence.
• The NBI began its probe into allegations that the gov’t has been defrauded of some P10B over the past 10
years by a syndicate using funds from the pork barrel of lawmakers and various gov’t agencies.
• COA released results of a 3-year audit investigation to determine the propriety of funds under
PDAF and Various Infrastructures including Local Projects (VLP). The pertinent findings are the ff:
o Amounts released to legislators significantly exceed their respective allocations
o Amounts were released for projects outside of legislative districts of sponsoring members

o Infrastructure projects were constructed on private lots which have yet to be turned over to the gov’t
o Implementation of projects was not undertaken by implementing agencies themselves, but by NGO’s
endorsed by legislators
o Selection of NGO’s were not compliant with law
• As for the Presidential Pork Barrel, whistle blowers allege that P900M of the gas project from
Palawan went into a dummy NGO.
• Several petitions declaring the PDAF unconstitutional were filed.
Issues:
1. W/N the 2013 PDAF Article violate the principles of:
a. Separation of powers
b. Non-delegability of legislative power c. Checks and balances
d. Accountability
e. Political Dynasties f. Local Autonomy
2. W/N the phrases (a) “and for such other pruposes as may be hereafter directed by the President relating to
the Malampaya Funds, and (b) “to finance the priority infrastructure development projects and to finance
restoration of damanged facilities… as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President” are
unconstitutional insofar as they constitute undue delegation of legislative power
Held:
1. PDAF
a. Separation of Powers
Yes. Legislators are given project identification powers wherein they can identify PDAF projects for as long as
the project falls under a general program listed in the program menu. They are also given powers of fund
release and fund realignment. These post-enactment measures are not related to functions of congressional
oversight and hence, allow legislators to intervene and/or
assume duties that properly belong to the Executive branch. From the moment the law becomes effective, any
provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or
enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional.
b. Non-delegability of Legislative Power
Yes. The 2013 PDAF Article, insofar as it confers post-enactment identification authority to individual
legislators, violates the principle of non-delegability since they are allowed to individually exercise the power
of appropriation which is lodged in Congress. The power to appropriate must be exercised only through
legislation (Sec. 29, Art. VI). They are able to dictate (a) how much from such fund would go to (b) a specific
project or beneficiary that they determine.
c. Checks and Balances
Yes. A prime example of a constitutional check and balance would be the President’s veto power (Sec. 27, Art.
VI). For him to exercise his item-veto power, it is necessary that there exists a proper “item” w/c may be object
of the veto. It is concluded that an appropriation bill must contain “specific appropriations of money” and not
only “general provisions” w/c provide for parameters of appropriation. Appropriation must be an item
characterized by singular correspondence – meaning an allocation of a specified singular amount for a
specified singular purpose (line-item).
d. Accountability
Yes. Insofar as its post-enactment features dilute congressional oversight and violate Section 14, Article VI of
the 1987 Constitution, thus impairing public accountability, the 2013 PDAF Article and other forms of
Congressional Pork Barrel of similar nature are deemed as unconstitutional. Allowing the legislators to
intervene in the various phases of project implementation – a matter before another office of the
government – renders them susceptible to taking undue advantage of their own office. However, while the
Congressional Pork Barrel and a legislator’s use thereof may be linked to this area of interest, the use of his
PDAF for re-election purposes is a matter which must be analyzed based on particular facts and on a case-to-
case basis.

e. Political Dynasties
Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution is not self-executing due to the qualifying phrase “as may be
defined by law.” It does not, by and of itself, provide a judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely
specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action.
f. Local Autonomy
Yes. The gauge of PDAF and CDF allocation/division is based solely on the fact of office, without taking into
account the specific interests and peculiarities of the district the legislator represents. In this regard, the
allocation/division limits are clearly not based on genuine parameters of equality, wherein economic or
geographic indicators have been taken into consideration. Moreover, it runs in conflict with the functions of
the various Local Development
Councils which are already mandated to assist in setting the direction of economic and social development, and
coordinating development efforts within its territorial jurisdiction.
2. Presidential Pork Barrel
a. Approriation
No. An appropriation law may be detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be for as long as the intent to
appropriate may be gleaned from the same (Philconsa). The Court cannot sustain the argument that the
appropriation must be the “primary and specific” purpose of the law in order for a valid appropriation law to
exist. If a legal provision designates a determinate amount of money and allocates the same for a particular
purpose, then the legislative intent to appropriate becomes apparent and sufficient to satisfy the Constitutional
requirement.
b. Undue Delegation
Yes. The appropriation law must contain adequate legislative guidelines if the same law delegates rule-making
authority to the Executive either for the purpose of (a) filling up the details or (b) ascertaining facts to bring the
law into actual operation. The completeness test and the sufficient standard test must be employed.
Sec. 8 of PD 910 constitutions an undue delegation of legislative power insofar as it does not lay down a
sufficient standard to adequately determine the limits of the President’s authority w/ respect to the purpose for
w/c the Malampaya Funds may be used. As for the Presidential Social Fund, the Court takes judicial notice
that Sec. 12 of PD 1869 has already been amended by PD
1993 w/c thus moots the petitioner’s submissions.