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Cuenco says he spent less pork funds than del Mar

/ 08:24 AM August 18, 2013

Former Cebu City south district congressman Antonio Cuenco clarified that he didn’t spend all his pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2010.

In a phone interview, Cuenco said he endorsed projects worth P189 million out of P210 million in that period due to the 2010 election ban against spending for new projects.

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“But it was made to appear that I was the biggest spender among the 74 congressman,” he said.

Each congressman is entitled to endorse projects worth P70 million a year under the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

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Cuenco said the list of top spenders published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed that Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district spent more than he did.

Del Mar endorsed P202.5 million in pork barrel projects from 2007 to 2010.

Of that number, P120 million was spent on hard projects like infrastructure while the remaining P82.5 million was spent on soft projects such as education, health and training.

Cuenco said he spent P120 million from his pork barrel for hard projects and P69 million for soft projects.

He confirmed findings of the Commission on Audit that he exceeded his P70 million limit in 2008 by P5.5 million. He said he used some of this to buy new vehicles for south district barangay captains.

Congressmen are entitled to endorse projects worth P70 million while senators have a P200 million limit under the PDAF every year.

Cuenco said his P5.5 million excess was offset from his 2009 allocation.

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“It’s not accurate to say that I exceeded because I did not. I only spent P189 million or way below the P210 million pork allowed for the period,” Cuenco said.

Cuenco is the only Cebuano legislator in a list of 74 national lawmakers identified by the COA in its special audit report as having exceeded their share of PDAF spending from 2007 t 2009.

Cuenco, a former Deputy Speaker of the HOuse, currently serves as an adviser of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

His son James ran under Team Rama in the last May polls and was elected to the City Council. Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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TAGS: Antonio Cuenco, Cebu, Local authorities, local government, politicians, Pork barrel
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