3 senators see no need to return DAP funds
MANILA, Philippines—At least three senators saw no need to return the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds unless proven that the money went into their own pockets or dummy non-government organizations (NGOs).
“Mali po yung ganung pananaw kasi allocation lang po ito e. So ang sa amin dito, ’pag na-allocate mo sa lehitimong proyekto, e ano’ng liability mo du’n?” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said in a television interview on Wednesday.
“Ngayon ang dapat sigurong magsoli dito yung nagbulsa, yung mga nagnakaw, yung mga naglagay sa bogus NGOs. Kaya para malaman natin yan, i- subject natin ito sa special audit sa COA (Commission on Audit), makikita natin yung mga nagbulsa,” he said.
Trillanes was among the 20 senators who reportedly received additional allocation that was sourced from the DAP, which was declared unconstitutional Tuesday by the Supreme Court.
Reacting to the SC’s decision, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones was quoted to have said that if the expenditure was illegal, then the money has to be returned.
“I tend to be in agreement with her (Briones). Let the COA audit if the projects were implemented or if the monies were merely given to an NGO. Because how does one return a school building or a farm to market road?” said Senator Sergio Osmeña III in a text message.
Though he was reportedly among those who received an additional P50-million DAP funds, Osmeña said he did not touch the money.
“It is either with the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) or with the implementing agency,” he said.
Osmeña also pointed out that he returned all his “extra-PDAF” and did not spend a single centavo of his P200 million in 2013. PDAF is Priority Development Assistance Fund also known as “pork barrel” funds.
“I returned all extra PDAF. I did not use a single centavo,” he said. “I did not use a single centavo of my P200 million PDAF for 2013. You may check with the DBM.”
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who was among those who reportedly got the biggest DAP funds, also wondered how they could return the money if it was already spent for school buildings or roads.
“Halimbawa, nagawa na yung kalye, maayos naman pagkakagawa ng kalye, e pa’no mo ibabalik yun? Magkakakaroon ng unjust injustice kapag pinilit mong ibalik ng contractor yung pondo, e nagawa naman nya yung kalye,” Escudero said in a radio interview.
“Maliban na lang kung sa ma na Napoles-NGO napunta yung pera, e yun e talagang ibabalik dapat yun,” he said in jest.
Napoles is detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the “pork barrel” scam.
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