Abad: 20 senators got additional funds for infra projects
MANILA – Budget Sec. Butch Abad revealed on Saturday that 20 senators received an additional P1 billion on top of their pork barrel for infrastructure projects.
Abad noted that the additional funds were not “bribes” or “incentives” in relation to how a lawmaker would vote on key legislation.
“In the interest of transparency, we want to set the record straight on releases made to support projects that were proposed by senators on top of their regular PDAF allocation toward the end of 2012. These fund releases have recently been touted as ‘bribes,’ ‘rewards,’ or ‘incentives.’ They were not,” Abad said in a statement.
During Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s privilege speech on Wednesday, he said senators who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona were each given an additional P50 million.
But Abad said the funds are part of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to “ramp up spending.”
“To suggest that these funds were used as ‘bribes’ is inaccurate at best and irresponsible at worst,” he said.
Abad said most releases were made from November to December 2012.
“Those who received releases during that period and their corresponding amounts were: Sens. Antonio Trillanes (October 2012-P50M), Manuel Villar (October 2012-P50M), Ramon Revilla (October 2012-P50M), Francis Pangilinan (October 2012-P30M), Loren Legarda (October 2012-P50M), Lito Lapid (October 2012-P50M), Jinggoy Estrada (October 2012-P50M), Alan Cayetano (October 2012-P50M), Edgardo Angara (October 2012-P50M), Ralph Recto (October 2012-P23M; December 2012-P27M), Koko Pimentel (October 2012-P25.5M; November 2012-P5M; December 2012-P15M), Tito Sotto (October 2012-P11M; November 2012-P39M), Teofisto Guingona (October 2012-P35M; December 2012-P9M), Serge Osmena (December 2012-P50M), then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile(December 2012-P92M) and current Senate President Frank Drilon (December 2012-P100M),” Abad revealed.
"There were two earlier releases made in late August of that same year: Greg Honasan (P50M) and Francis Escudero (P99M). releases were made in 2012 to Senators Ping Lacson, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Bongbong Marcos and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. In 2013, however, releases were made for funding requests from the office of Sen. Arroyo (February 2013-P47M) and Sen. Pia Cayetano (January 2013-P50M),” he added.
Abad said the instance wasn’t the first time that funds were released from DAP to fund project requests from legislators.
“In 2011, the DAP was instituted to ramp up spending after sluggish disbursements-resulting from the government's preliminary efforts to plug fund leakages and seal policy loopholes within key implementing agencies-caused the country's GDP growth to slow down to just 3.6%,” Abad said.