Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Way Kurat’ is right; DBM wrong on P3B pork barrel

By , Christian V. Esguerra

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday said it made a “clerical error” in listing then Compostela Valley Rep. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora as having received a whopping P3 billion in pork barrel funds in 2007.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. said the DBM made a mistake in including Zamora’s allocation of P500,000 from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the same statement of allotment release order (Saro) it issued for the P3-billion project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“Representative Zamora’s allocation was for a multipurpose building for Davao Hospital in Tagum City. It had the same Saro number (A-07-095396) as the P3 billion allocated for the DPWH’s road maintenance projects nationwide. It was a clerical error,” Abad said in a phone interview.

This was the reason the Commission on Audit (COA) special report on the pork barrel funds released from 2007 to 2009 showed that Zamora, currently Compostela Valley vice governor, exceeded his annual P70-million pork allocation by P3 billion, way ahead of 71 other lawmakers who also received an overflow of PDAF during the period.

Angara concerned

For his part, former Sen. Edgardo Angara said he was concerned that his inclusion in the COA report might jeopardize his standing at the Canada-based Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (Gopac).

Per the COA special audit, the retired senator spent P81.55 million of his PDAF, and another P14.4 million from the same allocation, on two separate foundations identified with him between 2007 and 2009 alone.

Angara, Gopac’s first Asian chair who was elected just this year, said he would have some explaining to do when he attends the group’s executive board meeting in Ottawa next month.

“I’m confident that I can explain it, but whether from their point of view it’s acceptable, (that I cannot say),” he told the Inquirer in an interview on Monday afternoon.

Angara acknowledged that the standards set by the Gopac were “much higher because how can you have the moral ascendancy if you yourself are being accused by your agencies?”

During his term as a senator, he admitted getting a bigger allocation other than the P200 million in annual PDAF set aside for each member of the upper chamber.

Extra funding

Angara said the additional amounts were sourced from the lump sum budget controlled by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He recalled getting some P100 million for the improvement of the Baler town hall and plaza for its 400th anniversary in 2009. He also received between P60 and P70 million for establishing a school building in the province.

“The President has a lot of lump sum (budget),” he said in Filipino. “That’s why they attack the President because in effect, that’s the pork barrel of the President. That’s why we’re now itemizing (the budget). We don’t encourage any lump sum appropriation.”

Refusing to call the presidential allocation as pork barrel, Angara instead described it as an “earmark that was given to you by the administration, by the President.”

“There’s no extra funding that anyone in this country can get without the OK of the President—that’s how centralized we are,” he said, insisting that getting additional funding still depended on “performance” and required a “work program as well as a financial plan.”

No fly-by-night NGOs

Angara admitted using part of his PDAF to the NGOs Kalusugan ng Bata and Karunungan ng Bayan Inc. even if he was an incorporator of the groups.

He said he put up the organizations when he was agriculture secretary and the project had benefited some 30,000 schoolchildren aged 7 to 9 by the time they folded up toward the end of the Arroyo administration in 2010.

“If there’s any mistake, I should have removed my name there and got someone to take over because I was already a senator and the source of the funding would have come from my PDAF,” he said, referring to Kalusugan.

“But we can prove every single disbursement there and we can prove that this is not a fly-by-night, nonexistent, here-now-gone-tomorrow-type of NGO.”

Angara claimed that the same was true of his other existing organization, Karunungan, which handled a scholarship program.

“That is so easy to explain, explain all those activities,” he said, referring to the foundations in question. He cried foul that his groups were “lumped together” with other questionable NGOs, the type put up by Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

On the COA report, he said: “I’m not saying they were malicious. I think some of the auditors may be too young or inexperienced and under pressure to produce a report.”

Not a cent to Napoles

Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said in an e-mail to the Inquirer:

“If at all, some pork barrel funds were released by the GMA administration or by any other administration, these did not pass through my hands. The funds must have been—as they are usually—sent through a duly identified government agency before they get to the beneficiaries. And certainly, I can vouch for the fact that none of my PDAF ever went to Napoles or to questionable groups.”

The former Senate minority leader pointed out that Arroyo “refused to release even the funds I had initiated as a senator for projects that were included in the annual appropriations act, like the Cagayan de Oro Convention Center.”

“The release and delivery of the funds went through auditing procedures as required by existing government rules over which I had no influence, supervision or control. Moreover, the beneficiaries know that my inflexible warning has always been that the pork barrel funds they get through the intercession of my office should go solely to the projects intended to benefit the people, and not a centavo should be diverted into the pockets of thieves—friends or no friends,” said Pimentel, who received P61.55 million in pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009.

‘Restitution’

Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez said that the P113.7 million in pork money he received from 2007 to 2009 was a “restitution” of the PDAF that Arroyo previously withheld after he signed the impeach resolution against her in 2005.

“I believe the same is generally true for other members of the then minority that you listed,” said Golez who was an independent in the 14th Congress and only joined the Liberal Party in 2010.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Aquilino Pimentel Jr. , Congress , Edgardo Angara , Pork barrel , Way Kurat




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • After quake, makeshift churches welcome pilgrims in Bohol
  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement