House probe sought on DAP releases-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
SEVERAL House members are looking into investigating the "origin, use and distribution" of funds as part of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was supposedly utilized as an incentive to lawmakers who supported the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan dela Cruz of the House independent bloc filed House Resolution 358 seeking a congressional probe over the DAP implemented by the office of Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.
"Now, therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved that the appropriate House committees investigate and inquire into the origin, use and distribution of the said DAP funds in FY 2010, 2011 and 2012," the resolution said.
According to Abad, the DAP was designed by his office to ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion.
In a statement, the Budget chief said DAP releases are sourced from the overall savings of the national government, which includes unprogrammed funds generated from windfall revenue collections, unreleased appropriations from slow-moving projects, terminated programs based on program evaluation of Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) studies, as well as the withdrawal of unobligated or unused allotments already released to government agencies.
Abad said several senators received around P50 million in additional funds as part of the DAP while congressmen got P10 million to P15 million each. The funds are on top of their yearly priority development assistance funds (PDAF) or the so-called pork barrel. Senators get P200-million PDAF yearly while congressmen receive P70 million.
"Whereas, some legislators who were allocated various amounts as confirmed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) have denied they ever requested for such funds; others have confirmed they received varying amounts over a certain period from October 2012 to March 2013," the resolution stated.
"Whereas, these conflicting reports have triggered anger and apprehension over the provenance of and apparent misuse of these public monies which have only further enraged a public which has been on its wits end over earlier allegations of irregularity on the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)," it added.
Abad explained that DAP releases are not made to members of Congress themselves nor to their offices.
"Instead, we study their proposals based on the requirements they submitted, and we make the necessary fund releases to the implementing agency identified by the lawmakers. This is why our records don’t specifically reflect releases made to Senators or Congressmen. We never release the funds to them. These releases are actually made to the appropriate implementing agencies as endorsed by legislators in their request letters," Abad said.
DBM said as of October 1, their records show that a total of P137.3 billion has been released from the disbursement acceleration mechanism. This includes P82.5 billion in releases in 2011 and another P54.8 billion in 2012. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)