Aquino’s LP partymates among LGUs get lion’s share of DAP
MANILA, Philippines—Just like those in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the ruling Liberal Party members hogged the list of top recipients of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds among governors and mayors.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said that the data belatedly released by the Department Budget and Management (DBM) showed a “disturbing pattern” in the release of DAP funds to local government units (LGUs) from 2011 to 2013.
“The DAP was supposed to be used as an economic stimulus fund as claimed by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. But the actual releases showed that DAP was used as a virtual kitty of the LP from senators to congressmen to governors and mayors,” said Reyes. “That most of the big recipients of DAP were administration allies prove that DAP was indeed presidential pork.”
Using a list compiled by the Computer Professionals Union, Reyes said the top 12 LGU recipients of DAP were a certain “Mayor Carmen Petilla” with P237 million; San Fernando Mayor and now Pampanga Rep. Oscar Roriguez, P154 million; former Leyte Gov. and now Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, P118 million; Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco, P87 million; Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, P81.5 million; Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, P80 million; Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., P79 milion; Gen. Santos Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, P73.5 million; former Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, P70 million; Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, P55 million; former Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, P54 million; and former Alaminos Mayor Hernani Braganza, P54 million.
Reyes noted that DBM mislabeled the top recipients among LGUs as “Mayor Carmen Petilla” and “Mayor Carmen Cari” but he reckoned that the entry was for Baybay City Mayor Carmen Loreto-Cari, the matriarch of the powerful Leyte political clan and an aunt of Petilla. “If the DBM can’t even get the names right, how can it fully report how DAP was used?” asked Reyes.
On Tuesday, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco released his compilation of the top 10 DAP recipients in the House and the Senate. They were 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 who is also the wife of the Budget Secretary and LP campaign strategist (P176.619 million); former Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis (P160.209 million); former Cebu Rep. Tomas Osmena (P124.124 million); former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III (P120.581 million); and former Batangas Rep. Nelson Collantes (P110 million).
The top 10 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; and Franklin Drilon, P197.11 million.
“All the top LGU recipients were from LP which proved that DAP was used as pork for lawmakers and local government officials. It was a favor for political allies. It was dangled before politicians to ensure loyalty to the administration,” said Reyes.
Little was known of the DAP, purportedly an impounding mechanism for government savings, until Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said that senators received additional pork barrel funds as “incentive” following the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial in 2012. The Supreme Court has declared the DAP and its legislative counterpart, the Priority Development Assistance Fund as unconstitutional.
In a statement, Abaya maintained that lawmakers were not privy to the source of funds. He also claimed that his DAP funds amounted to only P281 million and not P408 million as claimed by Tiangco.
“The DBM website reflects what requests were granted on these funds. One thing is sure, we never requested projects that were coursed through NGOs. No ghosts no kickback,” said Abaya.