Editorial: Release of the Garcias’ PDAF-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
THE issue involving the non-release of the P56.3 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Deputy House Speaker Pablo Garcia and the over P3 million PDAF of his son, third district Rep. Pablo john Garcia, by the Cebu Provincial Capitol can be an interesting study on politicking and the “daang matuwid” slogan of the Aquino administration.
The money was deposited by the two legislators in the Capitol’s trust fund when Malacañang had still to suspend Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. The latter’s suspension in December allowed Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, a political rival, to assume as acting governor and manage Capitol funds.
Magpale is with the Liberal Party (LP) of President Noynoy Aquino, who wants his people to adhere to his “daang matuwid” slogan. “Daang matuwid” is supposedly about good and honest governance. Over-stressed there is the fight against corruption in government.
What is overlooked is that “daang matuwid” and good governance can be used to mask a political intention. In this case, it can be the refusal to release the PDAF, in the guise of exercising “care” in disbursement, to make the Garcias look bad to their constituents.
Or it can be the release and the distribution of the funds not to the beneficiaries listed by the lawmakers but to other people chosen by the acting governor, something that was hinted when her spokesperson said that she (Magpale) will identify the recipients of the allocation.
She didn’t say if the Garcias would be consulted on the matter.
Magpale, in a way, has questioned the logic of the disbursement of a big bulk of Pablo’s PDAF to Dumanjug, whose mayor is his son, Nelson. The younger Garcia claimed, however, that Dumanjug is “mere depository” of the funds.
Then again, it is still premature to judge Magpale’s intention. Maybe she just wants to ensure that the money would be spent well and that there would be no favoritism in its disbursement. In an election season, motives need to be always examined.
But she should release the funds and be non-partisan in the identification of beneficiaries. If not, her action would provide proof of the contention that the reason why Malacañang suspended the governor is to give administration candidates an advantage in the elections through control of Capitol.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2013.