Drilon: Yes I received P100M, but I used it for Iloilo
MANILA, Philippines – Answering accusations that he was among those who received the lion’s share of “additional pork barrel,” Senate President Franklin Drilon on Sunday said he received P100 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) but put it to good use.
“The P100 million, I received that…I requested for that fund under the DAP of the government so [Iloilo] would have additional infrastructure for tourism to boost our opportunity to host the 2015 [annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation],” he said in a radio interview.
The Senate President explained that the DAP, a lump-sum budgetary item introduced in 2011, was created because the government was being criticized for underspending.
“This is from the DAP which was created because of criticisms by economists that the government was underspending. Spending was weak that is why the [gross domestic product] at that time was low, at 3.6 percent against our target of 6 to 7 percent,” he said.
Drilon, who hails from Iloilo City, said the fund after it was granted to his office went straight to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for implementation.
“Senator Jinggoy [Estrada] himself said that it was not a bribe. If it was used to influence [the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona last year], there is no logic to releasing it after the trial and conviction of Corona,” he said.
Estrada, in a privilege speech last Wednesday, claimed that senators who voted to convict Corona were given an additional P50 million in funds “as provided in a private and confidential letter memorandum of the then chair of the Senate committee on finance [now Senate President Drilon].”
But Drilon pointed out that Senator Joker Arroyo, who voted for the acquittal of Corona, received funds from the DAP. However, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said Arroyo’s funds were released in 2013.
“Confidential man o hindi, ang importante ay kung paano ginamit,” he said of the so-called confidential memorandum.
Drilon asked the public to listen to their side of the story.
“The release of funds does not necessarily mean that it was pocketed [by the official],” he said.
The Senate president said that to address such perceptions, he will push for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
“We will lead the reform agenda so there would be no doubts that if [a lawmaker] has PDAF, something questionable is happening,” he said.
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