Lawmakers get P15.2 B in 'pork'
MANILA, Philippines - Senators and congressmen have received a total of P15.244 billion in pork barrel funds for this year.
The amount so far released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is about 60 percent of the P25-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2012 national budget.
The PDAF, the official name of the congressional pork barrel, allocates P200 million for each senator and P70 million for each member of the House of Representatives.
A DBM report showed that as of yesterday, a total of P12.582 billion has been released to House members – P10.078 billion for those elected from legislative districts and P2.504 billion for those representing party-list groups.
On the other hand, releases to senators totaled P2.662 billion. The P15.244 billion does not include releases to senators and congressmen from the PDAF lump sum in the 2011 budget.
PDAF allocations are good for two years.
According to the DBM report, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III has already received his full-year 2012 allocation of P200 million.
Others with the biggest releases for this year are Antonio Trillanes IV, P189.6 million; Teofisto Guingona III, P187.4 million; Miriam Defensor-Santiago, P180 million; Juan Ponce Enrile, P162 million; and Pia Cayetano, P131 million.
The other senators and the amount of 2012 pork barrel funds they have so far used are Loren Legarda, P124 million; Ralph Recto, P121.9 million; Lito Lapid, P120.1 million; Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, Ramon Revilla Jr., Gregorio Honasan, and Manuel Villar Jr., P100 million each; Ferdinand Marcos Jr., P99.9 million; Edgardo Angara, P85 million; Alan Peter Cayetano, P50 million; Franklin Drilon, P40.2 million.
Francis Pangilinan received the smallest amount for this year of P4.6 million. However, he availed himself of P32 million from his 2011 PDAF allocation.
Others with 2011 releases are Pia Cayetano, P127 million; Drilon, P77.3 million; Alan Peter Cayetano, P66.5 million; Enrile, P4 million; Escudero, P1 million; Guingona, P37 million; Legarda, P11.1 million; and Trillanes, P53.6 million.
In terms of 2012 and 2011 totals, Pia Cayetano is the biggest recipient with P258 million, followed by Trillanes with P243.2 million and Guingona with P224.4 million.
There is no showing that PDAF funds for this year have been released to Serge Osmeña III and Aquilino Pimentel III.
However, the DBM report shows that Pimentel has received P59 million out of his 2011 PDAF, while Osmeña has received P2.3 million.
Senators Joker Arroyo and Panfilo Lacson are not included in the report because they had not been availing themselves of their annual P200-million allocation since after their election to the Senate 11 years ago.
Six senators are seeking reelection in the May 2013 elections. They are Alan Peter Cayetano, Escudero, Honasan, Legarda, Pimentel, and Trillanes.
Among House members, ironically, the biggest recipient is opposition Rep. Amelita Villarosa of Mindoro Occidental, who has received P66.3 million.
Her boss in the opposition bloc, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, and Martin Romualdez of Leyte have availed themselves of their half-year allocation of P35 million.
Villarosa, Suarez and Romualdez were among the favorite congressional companions of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whenever she traveled abroad during her nine-year presidency.
Among House leaders, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II have received P35 million each.