How did then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo escape the string of impeachment cases and congressional probes on corruption in her administration?
The special report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) releases from 2007 to 2009 showed that Arroyo forked out generous servings of pork barrel funds not only to her allies but also to her foes.
“The opposition actually pretended to be in the opposition but functioned like a loyal opposition. With the real opposition, she was ruthless,” said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.
Arroyo was equally generous to senators who investigated the P728-million fertilizer fund scam and aborted the $329-million National Broadband Network-ZTE Corp. deal.
Senators who received pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009 were Jinggoy Estrada (P825.15 million), Loi Estrada (P110.8 million) and Juan Ponce Enrile (P904.5 million), all of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
From the Liberal Party (LP), the pork recipients were Rodolfo Biazon (P245 million), Francis Pangilinan (P191.05 million), Ralph Recto (P129 million), Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (P22.5 million) and Manuel Roxas II (P5 million).
The Nacionalista Party had Alan Peter Cayetano (P351 million), Manuel Villar (P135.5 million), Pia Cayetano (P123.25 million) and Antonio Trillanes IV (P3 million). Aquilino Pimentel Jr., of PDP-Laban, had a P61.56-million pork fund.
Then Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III was listed as having P40 million in hard projects, but Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. said in a text message that the allocation was never released.
In the House, then Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II received P395 million, while then Speaker Prospero Nograles got P604.5 million.
The LP recipients included Rozzano Rufino Biazon of Muntinlupa City (P202.150 million), Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo (P178 million), Hermilando I. Mandanas of Batangas (P117.1 million), Sen. Teofisto L. Guingona III of Bukidnon (P66.633 million), Henedenia Abad of Batanes (P2 million), Manuel Mamba of Cagayan (P80 million), Liwayway Vinzons-Chato of Camarines Norte (P140.6 million), Lorenzo R. Tañada III of Quezon (P104.4 million), Antonio A. del Rosario of Capiz (P100 million), Joseph Emilio Abaya of Cavite (P100 million), Raul V. Del Mar of Cebu City (P202.5 million), Edwin Uy of Isabela (P100 million), Vicente F. Belmonte Jr. of Lanao del Norte (P118.20 million), Maria Evita Arago of Laguna (P67.22 million), Benjamin R. Asilo of Manila (P149.921 million), Jaime Lopez of Manila (P179 million), Del R. De Guzman of Marikina City (P162.2 million), Carmencita O. Reyes of Marinduque (P121.57 million), Bernardo Piñol Jr. of North Cotabato (P115 million), Paul Daza of Northern Samar (P11.65 million), Alfonso V. Umali Jr. of Oriental Mindoro (P109.925 million), Abraham Kahlil Mitra of Palawan (PP98.8 million), Victor Agbayani of Pangasinan (P90 million), Roilo Golez of Parañaque City (P113.70 million), Nanette Castelo Daza of Quezon City (P155.45 million), Rosendo S. Labadlabad of Zamboanga del Norte (P98 million), Isidro T. Ungab of Davao City (P197.5 million), and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala of Quezon (P132.834 million).
Pork recipients from the NP were Cynthia A. Villar of Las Piñas City, who got P200 million, Ma. Laarni L. Cayetano of Taguig City (P124.5 million), Al Francis Bichara of Albay (P117.806 million), Oscar Malapitan of Caloocan City (P177.638 million), Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro City (P109.7 million), Jesus Crispin C. Remulla of Cavite (P100 million), Eduardo Gullas of Cebu (P140 million), Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz of Cebu (P64.65 million), Marc Douglas Cagas IV of Davao del Sur (P165.2 million), Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental (P194.64 million), Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of Ilocos Norte (P80 million), Ferjenel G. Biron of Iloilo (P121.96 million), Justin Marc S. B. Chipeco of Laguna (P111 million), Faysah R.P.M. Dumarpa of Lanao del Sur (P76 million), Marina P. Clarete of Misamis Occidental (P160.2 million), Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano of Misamis Oriental (P108.68 million), Anna York Bondoc of Pampanga (P135.4 million), Eduardo Zialcita of Parañaque City (P175 million), Erico Basilio Fabian of Zamboanga City (P147.15 million), Elandro Jesus F. Madrona of Romblon (P101 million), Florencio Garay of Surigao del Sur (P95.95 million) and Ronaldo Zamora (P169.05 million).
The other representatives seen as oppositionists then were PMP’s Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City, who received P115.200 milion, Didagen P. Dilangalen of Maguindanao (P122.5 million) and Mary Ann L. Susano of Quezon City (P129.1 million); PDP-Laban’s Mar-Len Abigail S. Binay (P157 million) and Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. of Makati (P139 million); and independents Eduardo Nonato Joson of Nueva Ecija ( P158.05 million) and Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina (P153.234 million); Emmanuel Joel Villanueva (P154.25 million) and Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales (P61.9 million) of Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption’s, Mujiv Hataman (P114 million) of Anak Mindanao and Florencio Noel of An-Waray (P115.4 million).
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Monday said the LP lawmakers and administration allies identified in the COA report would not be spared from any investigation.
“The party position is this should be investigated wherever the evidence leads to,” Roxas told reporters. “This involves the people’s money and one should not bastardize the people’s money.”
In Iloilo City, Tupas denied knowledge of the release of his pork funds to dubious nongovernment organizations. “I have asked COA to verify this,” he said.
But Tupas said there was nothing wrong if a legislator exceeded his PDAF allocation when its use was “transparent” and legal.—With reports from Nikko Dizon in Manila, and Nestor Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas