Angara defends use of pork barrel funds
MANILA – Former Senator Edgardo Angara defended the use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” funds from 2007 to 2009, saying the funds went to legitimate non-government organizations (NGO).
Angara is one of the lawmakers tagged in the Commission on Audit (COA) special report who allocated million peso funds from his PDAF to a foundation wherein he is one of the incorporators.
The report shows that Angara allocated P14.6 million to Kalusugan ng Bata, Karunungan ng Bayan or K and K Foundation, a foundation that provides feeding programs for grade school students.
Angara and his niece Riza Moises were among those listed as incorporators of K and K.
"I originally envisioned it to be a private effort…That may have been a mistake, I should have taken her out as well as me,” said Angara.
He said he did not pocket a single peso from the funds.
"Every single peso that we spent for the feeding program were all accounted for. We submitted the funds utilization report,” he said.
The COA report shows that the listed address for K and K, a unit in Marbella 1 Condominium in Pasay City, no longer exists.
But Angara said the foundation was dissolved in 2009, a year before COA began its investigation.
The report also shows that Angara allocated P81 million from 2007 to 2009 to Rural Empowerment Assistance and Development (READ), an NGO focused on education, health and publication.
From that figure, P4 million has not been liquidated. Angara said it’s because the scholars have yet to graduate college.
"The insinuation that this is a Napoles-type of NGO is absolutely unfair and false,” said Angara.
The former senator added that the two NGOs are registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.