Lucy Torres’ use of P190M pork ‘legal’-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
MANILA -- Despite her recent ouster as fourth district representative of Leyte, actress-turned-politician Lucy Torres-Gomez’ use of P190 million worth of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” is “legal”, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
“It was legal. She was still a representative when it was released. And even if released already, no substitute will take over and the funds don’t go to Gomez but to the same district, anyway,” Abad stated in a text message to Sun.Star.
“The SC decision is not final yet. So meantime, she can still use it. But assuming it is final, it’s possible she may have already exhausted her PDAF by frontloading it, like many of the legislators,” Abad added.
Voting 7-4-4, the Supreme Court on Tuesday unseated Torres-Gomez as congresswoman, ruling that replacing her husband, actor Richard Gomez, in the 2010 polls was invalid. Gomez was disqualified for his failure to fulfill the residency requirement of at least one year.
Torres-Gomez, who is also an Assistant Majority Leader at the lower chamber, said she will appeal the SC’s ruling.
According to the published records of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Torres-Gomez’s office spent P15 million of PDAF when she started her term in June 2010, P70 million in 2011, P70 million in 2012, and P35 million for the current year.
In total, Torres-Gomez’s office was provided with PDAF worth P190 million.
Each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to a yearly PDAF of P70 million, P30 million of which may be used for "soft" projects like financial assistance and the remaining P40 million may be allocated for "hard" projects such as repair and construction of roads and school buildings.
According to the records of DBM, Torres-Gomez allocated her P15 million PDAF in 2010 to a lone municipality—Palompon. Her office provided financial assistance for medical missions and livelihood programs as well as used the PDAF for purchase of service vehicles.
For the years 2011 to 2013, the congresswoman allocated her PDAF for construction of water systems and multi-purpose buildings, electrification, financial assistance, sports development, and repair of roads, among others.
Torres-Gomez is running for re-election while his husband and former chief-of-staff is trying his luck as mayor of Ormoc City. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)