On Pork and Plunder: The numbers behind the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam

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In one of the rarest moments in Philippine history, three high-ranking lawmakers were arrested on charges of plunder related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel scam.

TJ Palanca https://www.twitter.com/tjpalanca
07-04-2014

In one of the rarest moments in Philippine history, three high-ranking lawmakers were arrested on charges of plunder related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel scam. The trial will surely be long and drawn out, but what can we make of the situation as of the moment? Data from the Department of Budget and Management can shed light on the PDAF releases on which these three arrested lawmakers are being charged.

On charges of plunder related to the PDAF or pork barrel scam, three senators - Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla - were arrested in separate occasions during the past week, joining the alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in incarceration. The trial will surely play out in a methodical, if not slow, pace, and many Filipinos will be in want of the case’s speedy resolution. What we can do right now, is to take PDAF releases data from the Department of Budget and Management and use it to take a look at the numbers behind the PDAF scam - how much did they release, to whom, and for what? These are questions we can answer with the data.

I will provide my own analysis, but all the underlying information can be explored via the interactive visualizations that follow each analysis.

To whom did they release funds, and for what stated purpose?

Initial PDAF scam investigations have alleged that the three senators, along with other lawmakers, colluded with businessperson Janet Lim-Napoles to execute ghost projects through Napoles’ fictitious Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Many of these were ‘soft’ projects and related to livelihood programs and farming, provided to agencies National Livelihood Development Corporation, Philippine Forest Corporation, TESDA, and the Department of Agriculture.

So, just how much of these funds went to soft farming and livelihood projects, and how much of the funds were coursed through the accused agencies?