Cayetano warns against DPWH ‘fund parking’ syndicate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to look into reports of an alleged syndicate in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that might be behind the illegal realignment of billions of pesos in the infrastructure department’s 2023 budget.
“As former Speaker of the House various sources have brought in to my attention that there could be a group controlling the allocation of projects to the different congressional districts,” Cayetano said at the briefing by the DBCC on the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) on September 14, 2022.
Cayetano said he is alarmed that the “manipulation” of public funds might already be happening in the DPWH’s budget proposal even before it is submitted to Congress, adding it involves tens, if not hundreds of billions, of pesos.
“Dati po ang pag-parking ng pondo ay nangyayari lang sa bicam at maliit na pondo lang ang pinag-uusapan. Pero ngayon, if reports are true, it has become a corruption pandemic,” the senator explained.
(Before the parking of fund happens in the bicam and involves small amounts. But now, if reports are true, it has become a corruption pandemic.)
Cayetano added that he suspects an “expanded fund parking scheme” may be at play in the DPWH, wherein the budget allocation for certain congressional districts is deliberately slashed to force negotiations for its reinstatement in exchange for giving the projects to favored contractors.
“Ang sumbong sa akin ay binabawasan daw ang budget ng mga distrito, tapos kakausapin nila ang congressman doon na pwede nilang ibalik ang pondo pero sila ang mamimili ng project at contractor nila ang gagawa nito,” he said.
(There were complaints sent to me claiming budgets for districts are being shaved, then they will talk to the congressman there that they can return the fund, but they will choose what project and which contractor will do the project.)
Cayetano said the budgets of several districts were inexplicably cut in the 2023 2023 NEP, with the shortfall ranging between 21.41 percent to as high as 93.12 percent.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Joel Villanueva agreed with Cayetano, saying he has personally talked with one of the persons affected by the parking of funds.
“This is not the first time that I have heard these stories. In fact I for one had the chance to talk to this person, and I heard it from the horse’s mouth that this is actually happening in Central Luzon, specifically I will point out the flood control program of DPWH,” Villanueva said.
Cayetano lamented that instead of getting creative in spending public money efficiently, government officials seem to be busier finding innovative ways to siphon off funds intended for infrastructure development.
“Huli dap ang tawag dito [This is called hulidap],” he added.
Lacson questions’ duplicate’ DPWH projects
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