‘Baluktot na daan’?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


THE report of the Commission on Audit (COA) that 46 present and former legislators received millions of pesos in allotment from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is revealing and terribly appalling.

COA reported that P229.6 million was released to the National Dairy Authority (NDA) by Malacañang on Dec. 21, 2011 days after the House of Representatives elevated the impeachment complaint against then chief justice Renato Corona to the Senate.

The DAP allotment to the 46 lawmakers was released through the NDA as milk feeding program. Most of those who got the allotment belonged to the Liberal Party. Party-list representatives also received. Not one Cebu legislator was involved though.

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State auditors uncovered serious irregularities in the disbursement of DAP money.

Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores allegedly purchased the supply of chocolate-flavored milk from his daughter. They also noted questionable signatures in the disbursement documents.

There were also suspicions that the Reproductive Health bill, the increase in sin taxes and the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012 or K-12 were approved after DAP funds were sprinkled.

This could perhaps be the reason that the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill was placed in the cellar so that whatever “kabaluktotan” (crookedness) in the “Tuwid na Daan” (straight path) of PNoy’s administration would not be known.

Could we now safely say that the “Tuwid na Daan” policy of PNoy is now “baluktot” after the lid on the DAP was opened? And was this the reason he was emotional during his Sona?

Budget Secretary Butch Abad, the brain of DAP, tendered his resignation at the height of the DAP controversy but PNoy rejected it. Was PNoy afraid of the backlash if he accepted the resignation?

As reported by John Carlo Cahinhinan of Sunnex, the first in the COA list who received the DAP were LP Reps. Jorge Banal II (Quezon City), P5 million; Jorge Almonte (Misamis Occidental), P5 million; AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, P10 million and Kalinga Party-list Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol, P3 million.

ACT party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and Gabriela party-list Rep. Emerenciana de Jesus, who endorsed the impeachment of President Aquino after the Supreme Court declared the use of DAP funds unconstitutional, also received P3 million and P2.4 million each, respectively.

Tinio clarified that they took part in the NDA Milk Feeding Program in response to a communication from the office of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. He said the Department of Education implemented his milk feeding program.

The others who got their share were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (LP, Quezon City), P5 million; LP Rep. Benjamin Asilo (Manila), P5 million; Maria Carmen Zamora-Yapsay, (Compostela Valley), P2 million; and Romero Quimbo (Marikina City), P1 million. They received their allotment but they did not implement the program.

Also in the COA report are Reps. Roy Loyola, P3 million; Herminia Roman, P1.5 million; Agapito Guanlao, P2 million; Roberto Puno, P3 million; Alfredo Garbin, P3 million; Winston Castelo, P5 million; Vicente Belmonte, P1 million; Florencio Miraflores, P2 million; Roger Mercado, P1.6 million; Carol Jayne Lopez, P3 million; Nancy Catamco, P2 million; Bernadette Dy, P10 million; Antonio Ferrer, P3 million; Justin Marc Chipeco, P3 million; Oscar Malapitan (now Caloocan City mayor), P6 million; JV Ejercito (now a senator), P4 million; Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David, P6 million; Bai Sandra Sema, P2 million; Godofredo Arquiza, P3 million; Mariano Michael Velarde, P3 million; Teodorico Haresco, P5 million; Vicente Crisologo, P5 million; Jose Benjamin Benaldo, P10 million; Leopoldo Bataoil, P1 million; and Rommel Amatong, P2.1 million.

This COA report somehow validated the oppositions’ suspicions before that Malacañang used the DAP funds to press for its legislative agenda and the ouster of Corona. What a disgrace.

(atty.ellieE@gmail)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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