Opposition lawmaker accuses DBM of double standard-A A +A
Thursday, January 3, 2013
AN OPPOSITION legislator criticized Thursday the Budget department’s release of pork barrel funds to the district of former Dinagat Islands representative Ruben Ecleo Jr. through a caretaker, who is an ally of President Benigno Aquino III.
Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay said the release of pork barrel or priority development assistance fund (PDAF) was proof of the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) double standard.
“This just takes the cake. A former solon still gets his PDAF through a party-list lawmaker while districts of opposition congressmen have been languishing for several years already because the DBM refuses to release their PDAF,” she said.
The district of Magsaysay, a staunch critic of the Aquino administration and close ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has not received a single centavo of PDAF in the past years.
Magsaysay said if the justification of the PDAF release was because it belonged to the people, then the DBM should have also released the PDAF of “porkless” opposition legislators.
“The pork belongs to the people. It does not matter that they belong to a district led by an administration or opposition solon. They are entitled to government services supported by these funds because this comes from their taxes. This just goes to show that the DBM does not really care about the people,” she said.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Akbayan party-list Representative Kaka Bag-ao was receiving the yearly PDAF of Dinagat Islands in her capacity as caretaker.
Her appointment by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was criticized because she is running as congresswoman in Dinagat Islands in the May midterm polls.
Ecleo was removed from the congressional roster last year after being convicted of parricide for killing his wife in 2002. He was also found guilty for his role in the irregularities in infrastructure projects in San Jose, Surigao del Norte, where he served as mayor from 1991 to 1994.
He has since gone into hiding.
Akbayan said the money went to infrastructure projects and social service programs, "all of which were identified through barangay consultations conducted throughout the province."
The PDAF also supposedly financed the building of roads, water systems, multi-purpose buildings and sea walls. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)