Lawmaker: Being caretaker of Dinagat not an advantage in 2013-A A +A
Friday, January 4, 2013
AKBAYAN party-list Representative Kaka Bag-ao refuted Friday statements that her appointment as caretaker in Dinagat Islands would give her the advantage of winning the congressional seat of the province in the May elections.
Instead, she said it is "like being given a stick to slay a dragon,” referring to the powerful Ecleo clan in the province.
"Those who think that a few months of serving as caretaker rep would tilt the balance in my favor is (sic) obviously unfamiliar with how powerful the Ecleos are. They are well entrenched, and there are even rumors that they are reviving their private army," she said in a press statement.
As caretaker, Bag-ao received "pork barrel" funds or priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of Dinagat Islands.
Almost P140 million has been released by the Budget department to Dinagat through Bag-ao after the province’s elected representative Ruben Ecleo Jr. was dropped from the roll of congressmen for his conviction in graft and murder cases last year.
"I come from a political tradition where pork barrel is seen not as a tool for patronage. Kung ako lang ang masusunod, dapat lang na i-abolish ang pork barrel," she said.
The party-list lawmaker then added that Dinagat "has been deprived of development projects and has been severely neglected."
Bag-ao, only in her first term as Akbayan representative, is running against outgoing Dinagat Mayor Gwendolyn Ecleo, sister of the fugitive ex-lawmaker.
If she wins, she said it won’t be through her appointment as caretaker but due to her track record as a community organizer. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)