MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary Judy Taguiwalo refuted President Rodrigo Duterte’s claims about department funds supposedly being used for the New People’s Army.
This was the reason he cited for her rejection by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
“For the record and for the President’s own awareness, not a single peso of the 4Ps program passed through my hands,” Taguiwalo said in a statement on Tuesday, August 29.
The former DSWD chief explained that the funds for the anti-poverty program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino (4Ps) “are directly coursed through the Landbank and its conduits who then make direct payout to the Pantawid beneficiaries.”
Duterte revived the suspicion that Taguiwalo was rejected by the CA on August 16 because she allegedly channeled funds to the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the National Democratic Front (NDF). Taguiwalo was an NDF nominee to the Duterte Cabinet.
This was also the same reason cited by CA members when asked about the rejection. CA panel chair Joel Almario, who recommended the voting results to the CA plenary, did not mention in his speech why Taguiwalo was rejected by the body.
The issue of NPA links was likewise not raised during the CA hearing, and this has been repeatedly lamented by Taguiwalo.
“Had the President’s allies questioned me regarding this issue during the CA hearings – or even during the congressional deliberations on the 2018 budget – I would have given them answers that are easily verifiable,” said Taguiwalo.
She also reiterated that her first directive when she assumed the post last year was to cease the expansion of the program. The DSWD has a moratorium on accepting new 4Ps beneficiaries limiting the current number to 4.4 million households at present.
“If there have been any additional members, they are the families of soldiers killed in action or those who have been wounded in action who have children aged 0 to 18. This is in compliance with the President’s order,” she said.
“I have done my best as a member of the President’s Cabinet and his government and served the people with humility and full transparency. The least I asked of him is to not legitimize baseless accusations against me,” she added.
During her send-off ceremony in the DSWD, Taguiwalo turned emotional when she said that she regrets that Duterte did not keep his faith in her despite her continuing faith in him and his pro-poor agenda.
Taguiwalo earlier said that she requested to meet with Duterte before her CA rejection but he declined her request. – Rappler.com