More senators contest alleged DAP funds releases-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
(UPDATED) More senators disputed the alleged release of funds under the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in various government projects.
Senator Pia Cayetano in a statement vehemently denied that she requested or did she ever authorize the release of funds under the DAP scheme to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
This was in contrast to the claim of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo who revealed that Cayetano specifically allotted P10 million in DAP funds to the DOST.
Earlier, former senators Panfilo Lacson and Joker Arroyo made the same clarifications as they maintained that no such request has ever been forwarded.
"Records will show that I have not availed my pork barrel since day 1. It's impossible," Lacson was quoted as saying.
Arroyo, for his part, challenged Malacanang to show proof that his office used any of this pork barrel while he was still a senator. He maintained that statements using his name in connection with PDAF scam are purely lies and manipulations.
Cayetano said she is still waiting for clarification from the DOST after it came to her office's attention last February 2012 that the DOST realigned the said amount to the Malnutrition Reduction Program of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), an agency under the DOST.
"I don't even know what that term means. What I do know is that I proposed amendments in the amount of P10 million to the DOST budget under the 2012 General Appropriations Bill. The amendments were coursed through then Senate finance committee chair Franklin Drilon in a letter dated November 22, 2011," said Cayetano.
Cayetano further said that her office submitted in writing the breakdown of the P10 million as follows: P2 million for training and scholarships; P1 million for the purchase of Starbooks facilities under the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute; and P7 million for financial assistance for Research and Development.
The lawmaker said she even asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) how the funds were realigned as it happened without her knowledge or prior approval.
In response to Cayetano's request, a letter from the DBM dated March 12, 2012 confirmed that it was the DOST's decision to realign the P10 million under DAP for Fiscal Year 2011, as covered by Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) No. E-11-01959 dated December 12, 2011.
"I could not have possibly authorized nor realigned funds through DAP, a funding entity whose mechanisms were unknown to me until it became the subject of controversy in recent news," Cayetano said.
Lacson, a known administration ally, lambasted Malacanang Tuesday for allegedly twisting facts and manipulating the truth on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a press conference, Lacson said no senators are even aware of this DAP and said that such budget never existed even before.
"Wala kahit isang senador ang familiar sa DAP kahit nuong 2011, 2012 o 2013. Hindi nga ako kumukuha ng pork barrel tapos idadawit pa ako sa pagkuha ng additional pork using DAP," Lacson said.
The former senator revealed that some of his former colleagues can even get as high as P1 billion for his pork barrel depending on how strong his connection to Malacanang.
"May alam akong isang senador na nakakuha ng P1 billion na pork. Minsan nga may matitikas na senador nakakakuha ng P1 billion additional lalo 'yung isang kakilala ko nuong previous years," Lacson said.
He slammed the administration for including him in the list of the program recipients, describing it as an attempt to deodorize the DAP.
"Talaga naman walang DAP. Only Malacanang has the authority to spend DAP. It will be unconstitutional and no senators have the right on this DAP because only the Palace can disburse this fund," Lacson stressed.
Lacson also challenged the Department of Budget and Management the Department of Science and Technology to come out and explain, saying this matter should be clarified before the Filipino people.
The former senator also explained that DBM led by Secretary Florencio Abad cannot just arbitrarily use the funds and divert the savings somewhere else.
"Thirty million pesos ang napunta sa DOST pero appropriated na yun sa 2012. Impossible na sa DAP yun dahil magkakaroon ng duplication since sa General Appropriation Act o GAA amendment galing yung nadistribute ko na funds. Magkakaroon ng duplication if that will be the case," Lacson said.
Lacson further said that it is clear that under the law, no money shall be paid out of treasury without congressional approval and doing so, he said will be unconstitutional.
Lacson said Malacanang should cause the abolition of PDAF and even DAP. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)