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138 lawmakers showered with P8.8B from DAP

/ 01:31 AM September 24, 2014
Former Cavite Rep. and now Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya was the top recipient of DAP fund, receiving P408 million. Abaya is also the Liberal Party president. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Former Cavite Rep. and now Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya was the top recipient of DAP fund, receiving P408 million. Abaya is also the Liberal Party president. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has identified 22 senators and 116 representatives, mostly members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) and administration allies, who were showered allocations amounting to P8.8 billion from Malacañang’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) between 2011 and 2013.

The list was released by Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco and was based on information grudgingly provided by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. that was posted on his agency’s website after months and days of stalling despite prodding from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

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Tiangco, UNA secretary general, said Abad’s list was still P1.2 billion to P2.2 billion short of the estimated P10 billion to P11 billion in DAP funds purportedly disbursed to lawmakers.

“We cannot conclude who got what and who got the biggest (allocations). We don’t have the complete data. But based on this incomplete information, a pattern is emerging that it pays to be friends with the administration,” he said.

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Top 10

This was glaring in the top 10 recipients of DAP funds among the representatives, all of them LP members:

Former Cavite Rep. and now Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya (P408 million) who is also LP president; Speaker and LP vice chair Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (P297.487 million); Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II (P263 million); former Cavite Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Saquilayan Maliksi (P217.894 million); former An-Waray Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel (P179.5 million) who ran under LP in his futile bid for Tacloban mayor in 2013;

Deputy Speaker and Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad (P176.619 million) who is also the wife of the Budget Secretary and LP campaign strategist; former Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis (P160.209 million); former Cebu Rep. Tomas Osmeña (P124.124 million); former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III (P120.581 million); and former Batangas Rep. Nelso Collantes (P110 million).

Belmonte said in a text message: “I am not aware of how much I received. Maybe because as Speaker, I also give to others outside my district.”

The DAP allocations to the representatives were comparable to those given to 22 senators who received a total of P3.785 billion, or an average of P172 million each.

The top 10 biggest recipients in the Senate were Teofisto Guingona II with P360.51 million; Francis Pangilinan, P310.841 million; Aquilino Pimentel III, P258.100 million; Loren Legarda, P250 million; Juan Ponce Enrile, P249 million; Gregorio Honasan II, P238 million; Francis Escudero, P235.5 million; Ralph Recto, P233.17 million; Vicente Sotto III, P214 million; Franklin Drilon, P197.11 million.

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The other senators who reportedly received DAP funds were Pia Cayetano with P175.676 million; Alan Peter Cayetano, P159.999 million; Edgardo Angara, P153.9 million; Ramon Revilla Jr., P115 million; Sergio Osmeña III, P111.75 million; Antonio Trillanes IV, P100 million; Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos” Jr., P100 million; Miriam Defensor Santiago, P100 million; Jinggoy Estrada, P96.75 million; Manuel “Lito” Lapid, P65 million; Manuel Villar, P44 million; and Joker Arroyo, P17 million.

All accounted for

In a text message, Pangilinan said: “All projects can be accounted for and none went to bogus NGOs (nongovernment organizations). We also did not know then that the funds were categorized under DAP and that we were told by the Senate leadership then to submit projects which we did.”

Tiangco accused Abad of “hiding something” for allegedly continuing to keep under wraps the rest of the P10 billion to P11 billion DAP fund which went to lawmakers.

Little was known of the DAP until Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed that additional allocations in the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were disbursed following the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona last year. Abad later said that the additional pork came from DAP, Malacañang’s version of the PDAF. The Supreme Court has declared both DAP, supposedly an impounding mechanism for government savings, and PDAF unconstitutional.

“For the sake of transparency, legislators have all the right to know how and where their DAP was used. The public also wants to know who among the legislators received DAP funds. Abad’s excuses, silence and secretiveness beg the question of what happened to the Aquino administration’s promise of ‘tuwid na daan,’” Tiangco said. “What Abad is doing is unacceptable given this age of computers.”

Tiangco also noted errors in the list, which included Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro who received a total of P3.75 million from the DAP. He said there was also an attempt to deceive the public by misplacing the figures from some of the allied representatives like Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice whose P3.5 million from the DAP was booked under local government units. Erice was formerly a vice mayor of Caloocan City before he became its representative in 2013.

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TAGS: Congress, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Florencio Abad, House, Liberal Party (LP), Philippines, Politics, pooled savings, Pork barrel, Senate, Tobias Tiangco
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