House majority downplays DAP milk fund for 46 solons
MANILA, Philippines – The majority floor leader in the House of Representatives said there was nothing wrong in endorsing lawmakers for funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) days after the chamber impeached then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II was referring to the Commission on Audit (COA) annual report on the National Dairy Authority (NDA) that said at least 46 former and incumbent lawmakers were allocated with P229.6 million for milk feeding programs.
The report said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued special allotment release orders (Saro) and notice of cash allocations (NCA) for 46 congressmen on Dec. 22, 2011, or 10 days after the House of Representatives impeached Corona.
These lawmakers were endorsed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to the DBM for fund allocation, the report read.
“It’s not unheard of. There’s nothing wrong for Speaker to endorse,” Gonzales said in an interview on Tuesday.
Gonzales said the chamber usually consolidates lawmakers who may benefit from sources of funds for their projects.
“There’s no problem for Speaker to endorse for the lawmakers’ constituents. It’s the implementation that one should look at,” he added in Filipino.
DAP was embroiled in controversy after Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who is detained for plunder over the pork barrel scam, claimed that funds from the spending program were given as incentives to senators who voted to convict Corona.
Gonzales branded the allegations as “speculations.”
“It’s just a realization from the Palace that lawmakers are entitled to serve their constituents,” he added.
Some practices under DAP were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court at the height of the controversy, pitting the judiciary to the executive. President Aquino had warned the high court of colliding with the executive.
In their report, COA said the DAP funds for the milk feeding program “may not have fully contributed in the attainment of the DAP objective of accelerating government spending…”
This is because “since from the time the funds of P167.44 million or 72.9 percent were released in September 2012, only 87 percent or P145.694 million was obligated, and out of which, a total of P87.002 million or 59.7 percent was disbursed for 33 projects.”
COA recommended that the NDA management “return the unutilized DAP funds to the Bureau of Treasury pursuant to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court that the DAP is unconstitutional.”
Among those lawmakers who received DAP funds were those from the Makabayan bloc, which has criticized the DAP as Aquino’s “pork barrel” funds. These are Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus, former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, former Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and former Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino.
Also among the recipients are Speaker Belmonte and former San Juan city Rep., now Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito.
The former and incumbent lawmakers who were tagged as the proponents of the milk feeding program are:
Bernadette Herrera Dy – Bagong Henerasyon
Herminia Roman – 1st District Bataan
Winston Castelo – 2nd district, Quezon city
Roy Loyola – 5th district, Cavite
Agapito Guanlao – Butil
Roberto Puno – 1st district, Antipolo
Florencio Miraflores – Lone district, Aklan
Jorge Almonte – 1st district, Misamis Occidental
Carol Jayne Lopez – Yacap
Nancy Catamco – 2nd district, North Cotabato
Antonio Ferrer – 6th district, Cavite
Oscar Malapitan – 6th district, Caloocan
Justin Marc Chipeco – 2nd district, Laguna
Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David – 4th district, Manila
Leopoldo Bataoil – 2nd district, Pangasinan
Roger Mercado – Lone district, Southern Leyte
Vicente Belmonte Jr. – Lone district, Lanao Del Norte
Benjamin Asilo – 1st district, Manila
Godofredo Arquiza – Senior Citizens party-list
Rommel Amatong – 2nd district, Compostela Valley
Maria Carmen Zamora – 1st district, Compostela Valley
Acmad Tomawis – ALIF
Edwin Olivarez – 1st district, Paranaque
Mariano Michael Velarde – Buhay
Balindong Pangalian – 2nd district, Lanao Del Sur
Rafael Mariano – Anakpawis
Jorge Banal – 3rd district, Quezon city
Alfredo Garbin – Ako Bicol
Sharon Garin – Aambis Owa
Abigail Faye Ferriol – Kalinga
Joseph Victor Ejercito – Lone district, San Juan
Romero Quimbo – 2nd district, Marikina
Feliciano Belmonte – 4th district, Quezon city
Randolph Ting – 3rd district, Cagayan
Imelda Calixto-Rubiano – Lone district, Pasay
Emmi De Jesus – Gabriela
Vincent Crisologo – 1st district, Quezon city
Antonio Tinio – Act Teachers
Bai Sandra Sema – 1st district, Cotabato and Maguindanao
Ryan Luis Singson – 1st district, Ilocos Sur
Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso – 2nd district, Cagayan
Teddy Casino – Bayan Muna
Carlo Lopez – 2nd district, Manila
Jose Benjamin Benaldo – 1st district, Cagayan De Oro
Teodorico Haresco – Kasangga
Raymond Palatino – Kabataan
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