COA: Use dormant pork barrel funds
MANILA, Philippines - Inactive pork barrel allocations of then-Rep. Benigno Aquino and 16 other lawmakers should be used to benefit poor people in need of help for their medical expenses, a Commission on Audit (COA) report said.
The COA, in its 2011 report on the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC), said P1.17 million worth of Priority Development Assistance Funds in 17 accounts are currently frozen because donor-lawmakers are either no longer in office or have moved to another post.
Aquino, who was Tarlac representative, has a PDAF account of P1,209.13 that became dormant in 2012.
The late Anakpawis partylist Rep. Crispin Beltran, meanwhile, has a dormant donor account of P17,224.27.
Donor senators who have inactive PDAF accounts are Francisco Tatad (P58,425.58); Aquilino Pimentel (P34,834.08); Ramon Magsaysay (P83,545.98); Panfilo Lacson (P7,915.81); and Rodolfo Biazon (P500,000).
Donor congressmen who also have dormant PDAFs are current House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte (P118,417.54), and Reps. Carlos Padilla (P19,086.77); Ismael Mathay III (P83,545.98); Federico Sandoval III (P24,513.12); Satur Ocampo (P31,642.10); Krisel Lagman Luistro (P44,017.15); Roy Pilando (P619.69); Ronaldo Zamora (P9,638.77); Renato Magtubo (P90,093.70); and Augusto Baculio (P47,541.45).
"Considering the length of time that these balances have remained unutilized, it appears that the purposes for which these funds were established have already been long accomplished. Further analysis showed that all the dormant PDAF accounts belong to Senators and Congressmen who were no longer incumbent," the COA report said.
It cited a March 29, 2006 opinion submitted to the commission by then Budget Secretary Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. that "incumbent members of Congress may access the unutilized balance of PDAF of their predecessors if the allotment has not been obligated."