4 GMA allies still without 'pork'
MANILA, Philippines - Four allies of detained former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have remained “pork-less.”
Representatives Augusto Syjuco Jr. of Iloilo, Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales, Diosdado Arroyo of Camarines Sur and Juan Miguel Arroyo of the party-list group Ang Galing Pinoy did not receive their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations for 2011 and 2012.
PDAF, which holds P25 billion every year, is the official name of the congressional pork barrel. It allocates P200 million for each senator and P70 million for each member of the House of Representatives.
Malacañang officials have claimed that though Arroyo’s allies were not receiving their PDAF funds, the budget department was releasing the money to their constituents.
Arroyo received a total of P109.2 million in 2012. The amount included the P39.2-million balance of her PDAF allocation for 2011.
The former president is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on a plunder case. She is also facing election sabotage charges.
The former president devoted all her 2012 PDAF funds to her district, unlike in 2011 when she shared a third of her P30.8 million with seven allies – Amelita Villarosa of Mindoro Occidental, Danilo Suarez of Quezon, Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Arthur Yap of Bohol, Marc Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, Magsaysay of Zambales and her son Diosdado of Camarines Sur.
Villarosa, Suarez, Romualdez, Yap and Cagas also availed themselves of P70 million in PDAF in 2011.
It was not clear why Arroyo did not share her funds with Syjuco, who was Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief during her administration.
When she was president, Arroyo starved her critics and members of the opposition, including then Tarlac congressman and later Sen. Benigno Aquino lll, of their PDAF allocations.
In April 2010, during the presidential campaign, Aquino said he had not been receiving his PDAF funds.
“My last was in 2005, which was a SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) for hospitals. None afterwards. Mar (Roxas), I understand, is also not getting any,” he said when asked if he and Roxas, his vice presidential running mate, were receiving their pork barrel allocations.
Aquino was still a Tarlac congressman in 2005. He was elected senator in 2007.
Syjuco wrote Aquino in which he pleaded for the release of his funds for the sake of his Iloilo constituents.
He said he did not think that the President held any grudge against him since their paths had rarely crossed.
He said he suspected that his political opponents in Iloilo had poisoned Aquino’s mind about him.