Anti-pork barrel group to COA: Audit DAP projects
MANILA, Philippines – A day before the Supreme Court hears the last round of oral arguments on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a multisectoral group trooped to the Commission on Audit (COA) to renew calls for the agency to look into DAP projects.
In their letter to COA chair Grace Pulido-Tan, the #Abolishpork Movement – led by sister Mary John Mananzan and University of the Philippines professor Judy Taguiwalo – said:
“While DAP claims to be an economic stimulus program, several of the projects included in the DBM submissions could hardly be considered as having a positive impact on economic growth. Too many items appear to be in line with presidential pork spending and as such are very vulnerable to corrupt practices like those that attended the congressional pork or PDAF.”
The constitutionality of DAP is being questioned before the Supreme Court. (READ: Two justices say DAP releases to senators not allowed; SolGen to SC: DAP won't be used again, petitions moot)
Earlier, the Supreme Court asked the Department of Budget and Management to submit a list of where DAP was sourced from and how it was used.
The group urged COA to scrutinize the following, among other released under the program:
- P5.432 billion Department of Agrarian Reform funds for the compensation of landlords
- P1.819 billion Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process funds for so-called peace projects related to seemingly questionable peace pacts such as the Government of the Philippines-Cordillera People's Liberation Army agreement (2011)
- P5.5 billion allocated for “various infrastructure projects,” usually quick-disbursing projects below P40 million and often upon recommendation of elected officials (2011)
- P6.5 billion “LGU support fund” of the Department of the Interior and Local Goverment and the Department of Budget and Management, supposedly for “LGU’s requiring financial assistance to implement projects under a prescribed menu” (2011)
- P8.592 billion Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Transition and Investment Support Plan that covers such general goals as the “creation of enabling environment for PPP towards equitable growth, improvement of public safety and security, cleansing the electoral system” (2011)
- P250 million Performance Challenge Fund that claims to be a “People Powered Community Driven Development” project which could just really be pork masquerading as a poverty alleviation program (2011)
- P6.5 billion DAP funds to augment existing Priority Development Assistance Fund projects (2011)
- P2 billion National Roads project for the President’s home province of Tarlac (2012)
- P1.8 billion for the notorious Tulay ng Pangulo para sa Kaunlaran started under the Arroyo regime and continued by Aquino (2012)
- P5 billion Tourism Road Infrastructure Project (2012)
- P8.295 billion for so-called “priority local projects nationwide” (2012)
- P1.6 billion for the “Capability Requirements for the Operations of the Philippine Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea”
As early as September 2013, COA Chair Grace Pulido Tan said COA was already looking into how senators and district representatives utilized DAP funds they received from the executive branch. COA is focusing on auditing implementing agencies, Tan told ANC.
On Monday, Renato Reyes, spokesperson of Bayan – one of the groups belonging to the #AbolishPork Movement – said they were informed by COA that there will be no special audit of DAP projects.
COA receives #abolishpork movement but says no special audit of DAP projects since these are already covered by regular audit.— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) February 17, 2014
The DAP rose into public consciousness after Sen Jinggoy Estrada revealed in a privilege speech in September 2013 that senators were offered P50 million each in exchange for the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. (READ: Jinggoy: P50M for each convict-Corona vote)
Budget Secretary Butch Abad denied the disbursements were bribes, saying the fund releases to senators were from DAP. (READ: 2012 fund releases to pols not bribes - Abad)
In a recently-released annual audit report on the Philippine Forest Corp, COA found that lawmakers released a total of P100.17 million in funds from the PDAF and DAP to questionable non-governmental oranizations.
The #abolishpork movement's letter to COA comes months after COA released its report on that misuse of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The report, coupled with revelations by whistleblowers tagging Janet Lim Napoles as the alleged mastermind of the scam, triggered a nationwide outrage against the PDAF, pushing the President to abolish the system. (READ AND WATCH: Pork Tales) – Angela Casauay/Rappler.com