PDAF for Bribe and DAP as Prize-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
FIRST, the Priority Development Assistance Fund and second, the Disbursement Acceleration Program. The former is better known as “pork barrel” and the latter is something conceived by the creative genius of crafty characters in the Congress and Malacañang.
The palace spokespersons, namely Abigail Valte and her boss Edwin Lacierda without batting an eyelash claimed that President PNoy has the discretionary authority to approve disbursements of DAP. Senators Ralph Recto, Miriam Santiago, and ex-senator Joker Arroyo on the other hand are telling us that there is no such thing as “disbursement acceleration program”. Between the place defenders and the senators, I believe the senators more.
Valte claimed that DAP are funds derived from savings from accomplished projects and projects which were ordered stopped on suspicion of corruption and approved projects which were not implemented at all. Savings from accomplished projects maybe, but to spend money allocated for projects which were half implemented on allegation of anomaly and those which were not undertaken at all are entirely different matters. DAP has all the trappings of illicitness that can earn President Benigno Aquino III an impeachment. Which is rather sad because I believe that he was made to understand that he is standing on solid legal grounds when he started disbursing over P80-billion from 2011 to 2012 alone!
Serving as a fulcrum of this anomaly was the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. If we are to believe what we hear and see, the inducement for congressmen to impeach Corona and for the senators to convict him was PDAF. To insure that this will be carried out, huge amounts of DAP funds were given away as a prize. Obviously the Chief Justice was doomed from day one.
These episodes of corruption in the path of daang matuwid not only victimized Corona but the entire Filipino nations. Now it has become apparent that projects, especially those passed by the previous Congress, were cancelled on the pretext that these were imbued with corruption. Never did it occur in my mind that the intention was to “save” the money allocated for these mothballed projects so that the President will have a huge reserve for inducement fund for members of congress to act on some despicable agenda.
You have to give it to some Presidential subalterns to come up with such scheme and then to make the President believe that it is alright to disburse money from discontinued and cancelled projects. Billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money were diverted merely on allegations that projects of past administration were tainted with corruption. How many school buildings, highways, farm to market roads, bridges and other government services were held and cancelled so that the money “saved” will be spent to bribe, induce and given out as prize money to the insatiable members of Congress? My gosh, they did not even bother telling the public what went wrong, they just assumed that every project approved by the past congress and implemented by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was reeking with corruption. All they have to do was paint the beleaguered Arroyo black.
I do not want to believe that President Aquino had any hand in the diversion of funds of suspended and cancelled projects from the National Treasury to the Department of Budget and Management Treasury in Malacanang. But Asst. Spokesperson Abigail Valte emphatically stressed that everything has the imprimatur of the President.
No wonder the Palace does not want to certify as urgent the Freedom of Information bill. Had this bill become a law more skeletons will be unearthed if media and the public will have an access to the records of government transactions. This government has a façade of principles that are gnawed and consumed in the inside by a magma of corruption.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 03, 2013.