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Monday, September 23, 2019

Sanchez: Bad poetry

THEY do sound like poetry. They rhyme. The acronyms Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) rhyme in more ways than word endings.

“All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling,” says famous Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde. Oh so true. Try genuine feelings of avarice and perfidy.

Day after day, new exposés on stealing and plunder by our supposedly honorable men and women of Congress are seeing the light of day.

Yet the more we know about these government sources of public funding, the more we get outraged with how government is fooling around with taxpayers’ money.

When publicly accused of donating government money to fake Napoles NGOs, Senator Jinggoy Estrada bared DAP money that he and most of his fellow senators accepted after they voted to impeach then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Now the public knows where no one before brought out the DAP issue. It turned out that many of our lawmakers didn’t even know the source of their largesse. What is coming out is sheer mockery of government transparency under Chief Executive Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s “Daang Matuwid.”

Now Aquino ally Senate President Franklin Drilon who got the biggest amount DAP money of P100 million has a lot of explaining to do. So much to explain, in fact, that Drilon is getting rattled.

Here’s how he rationalized his DAP money, according to the Philippine Inquirer: “The issue here (with the DAP) is whether the funds were misused or not. I hope the public will listen to our explanation that we did not pocket EVERYTHING.” (Emphasis mine) Slip of the tongue?

DBM Secretary Florencio Abad has plenty to explain too. Like Drilon, he is getting rattled as well. Former Senator Arroyo—one of only three who voted to acquit Corona—accused Abad of including him among those who received DAP sums in order to “deodorize the stink” caused by allegations that the Palace bribed senators to convict Corona.

Abad admitted that Arroyo’s funds “were not sourced from his Priority Development Assistance Fund, as he never made use of his PDAF allocations. However, the P47 million that the DBM released for projects endorsed by Sen. Arroyo’s office was charged from DAP.”

I’m reminded of Hollywood movies how bank robbers shoot at each other on how to divide the loot. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago insists that DAP “violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. …I would like to know in particular if it is legal for the budget department to discriminate among senators. While all other senators received an average of P50 million, reportedly three senators got P100 million each.” What’s good for Drilon should be good for Santiago.

PDAF, DAP might not be bad poetry but it certainly fails to rhyme with government transparency.

(Please send email to bqsanc@yahoo.com)
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