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Abad’s wife shrugs off favoritism claim

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 06:49 AM September 26, 2014
Deputy Speaker and Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad: They forget my name

Deputy Speaker and Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad: They forget my name

MANILA, Philippines–The Congresswoman wife of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad has shrugged off allegations that she received more in government funds under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) because of favoritism.

Deputy Speaker and Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad claimed she actually got less than what was reported.

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“Sometimes, I feel shy to ask for funds [from the Department of Budget Management],” said Abad, who got the sixth-biggest share, at P176.6 million, among the House members that reportedly cornered the bulk of the DAP funds.

In an interview, Abad said her district received only P169.3 million for projects funded under the DAP from 2011 to 2013, almost P10 million shy of the figure quoted by Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, who released the list of the biggest DAP lawmaker-recipients last Tuesday.

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Of that amount, Abad said she received only P86.6 million for the projects she herself had proposed.

They forget my name

Abad said the other proponents of projects for Batanes that were funded under the DAP were other legislators, among them Senate President Franklin Drilon, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and former Cavite Rep. and now Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, and government agencies.

Abad said those criticizing her because of her connection with the budget secretary were being unfair.

“That is sometimes not fair. I’m always identified as the wife. Sometimes they even forget my name,” she said with a laugh.

She said there were times when she actually felt shy to ask for funding from the agency that her husband heads.

“But people come to you. It’s part of the work. Like any representative, it’s part of your responsibility to meet the needs of your constituents,” she said.

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Abad clarified that whenever legislators asked for funding for particular projects, it was not up to them to identify the sourcing of the funds.

Not a fund

“The DAP is not a fund. It’s a strategy. It’s accelerating the savings or the disbursement of funds that are defined as savings, but that’s a long story,” she said.

In July, the Supreme Court declared certain practices under the DAP unconstitutional, including the declaration of savings before the end of the year, and its realignment for projects not included in the national budget.

The congresswoman said she rarely talked with her husband about his brainchild, the DAP, a stimulus program launched by the Aquino administration in 2011 to ostensibly pump-prime the slowing economy.

In the aftermath of the high tribunal’s decision, which is on appeal, the program has spawned antigovernment protests and impeachment complaints against President Aquino.

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TAGS: DAP fund, Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Henedina Abad, Politics
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