Senator Alan Cayetano says DAP benefited almost all senators
Almost all senators availed of P100 million worth of additional funds supposedly from the then little-known Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for their respective projects in late 2011, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano told the Inquirer on Friday.
Cayetano was one of six senators that the Inquirer last weekend reported to have requested projects worth P100 million to be funded by the unknown disbursement mechanism.
“As far as the six are concerned, we were surprised that it came from DAP. And to our knowledge all senators except Senator Ping [former Sen. Panfilo Lacson ay kumuha [availed],” Cayetano said.
The other senators that the Inquirer reported to have gotten additional funds from DAP in late 2011 were Senators Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, and Antonio Trillanes IV and Francis Pangilinan.
Pangilinan ended his second term as senator in June this year.
Contrary to the widespread notion that being allocated millions of pesos in public funds meant stealing them, Cayetano said the funds didn’t go to their pockets but to the lawmakers’ choice projects according to their respective “advocacies.”
“But you can’t blame the media and the people because so much has been hidden in the past that when something like this comes out, people are hungry for information,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said that unlike the postimpeachment DAP releases in the second half of 2012 when a few senators received P92 million to P100 million worth of projects while more got P50 million, the additional funds released to each senator in late 2011 were a “standard P100 million.”
“When we are told that we can request [projects] … we assume that it can only come from two sources—PDAF [the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel] or from savings. We did not know there was such a program as DAP,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said Lacson considered the additional funds as pork barrel and, thus, didn’t request for projects.
The majority leader said he didn’t know whether or not the other antipork lawmaker, Sen. Joker Arroyo, requested projects using the additional funds in late 2011.
“If they actually requested [projects] or not, we don’t have any knowledge, but usually when it is offered to everyone, everyone uses it … because all of us have our advocacies,” Cayetano said.
Lacson and Arroyo swore off the use of pork barrel funds, Lacson since his first term as a senator in 2001, Arroyo since he became a Makati representative in 1992.
Both take pride in refraining from the use of the discretionary lump sum known as the congressional pork barrel. They bowed out of the Senate after serving their respective second terms in the Senate until June this year.
Cayetano said PDAF allocations of P200 million per senator and P70 million per House member were just the minimum.
“It’s not unusual to have additional funds available anytime during the year or on certain benchmarks, let’s say when it’s already October or November when the savings are already starting to be computed or when the budget hearings have drawn to a close,” Cayetano said.
“What happens is basically, the government will spend more and they ask legislators to help identify (projects),” Cayetano added.