Magpale should release withheld funds-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
ACTING Gov. Agnes Magpale should not withhold the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of second district Rep. Pablo Garcia and his son, third district congressman and One Cebu Party gubernatorial candidate, Pablo John, that were given to the Capitol as trust fund. Doing so is unfair to the legislators and to their constituents.
The Garcias entrusted part of their “pork” to the Capitol, thus giving the chief executive the power to disburse the funds. But the legislators will still be the ones to identify the projects.
The older Garcia has P56.3 million while Pablo John has P3 million. But the change in Capitol leadership following the suspension of Gov. Gwen Garcia has made it difficult for the father and his son to distribute the funds to their constituents. This prompted Pablo to seek the Ombudsman's intervention.
Magpale withheld the release of these funds to its supposed beneficiaries in the second and third district, claiming she has to be extra careful and to strictly follow the guidelines set by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
But she promised to release it before the ban on public works begins on March 29, the start of the campaign period for local candidates.
Magpale also assured local officials of the various municipalities in the second district that she will distribute the funds equally following discovery that a big bulk of Pabling's pork barrel would be given to the town of Dumanjug, the congressman's hometown and where his son, Nelson, is the mayor.
If this is true, this should not be the case. Other municipalities also need financial aid. The Garcias, though, have denied Magpale's claim.
Under DBM rules, Magpale has the power to disburse the funds and she should do it expeditiously. Let Pabling submit a list of priority projects.
In the case of Pablo John, the congressman has already identified the supposed beneficiaries of his P3 million PDAF. These are for his scholarship program and for the financial aid to victims of road accidents that happened in his district.
Pablo John's scholars need it now because final examination is fast approaching. So Magpale should release it now.
The victims of vehicular accidents, meanwhile, need the money most for medicines and for their personal needs, as some of them have lost their jobs and livelihood and are the bread winner of their family.
I even received a complaint from a relative of one of the victims in that Calvo Bus line and WT ten-wheeler truck road accident that happened in Toledo several months ago. The two companies allegedly failed to provide them assistance. It was Pablo John who shouldered their hospital expenses.
You see that? Di ka malooy ana Madam Agnes?
If Magpale will delay the distribution of these funds, the act might boomerang or backfire on her and her bid for vice governor. It would also jeopardize the bid of her gubernatorial candidate, Junjun Davide.
Why? Because the people of the second and third districts are already aware about these funds from their respective congressmen. Since the funds are a big help to the LGUs, Magpale would look bad if she deprives them of their right to avail of their use. The Garcias can make this as a political issue.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2013.