MANILA, Philippines [UPDATED] – Navotas Rep Tobias “Toby” Tiangco received a total of P70-M in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as of Nov 9, 2011, not P66.993-M as previously reported, the Department of Budget and Management said Monday, March 13.
The Special Allotment Release Orders charged against Tiangco’s PDAF allocation — dated July 27, August 1, October 7, and November 9 last year — were released ahead of the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona on Dec 12, 2011, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.
Abad later issued a corrected statement to say Tiangco actually got P70-M, not P66.993-M as previously contained in his press statement. Check Tiangco’s PDAF here.
Abad said that at least 10 legislators who voted against either the impeachment complaint against resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez or Chief Justice Renato Corona, or both, got their PDAF also last year.
Abad identified these solons as the following: Minority Floor Leader Rep Edcel Lagman, Nueva Ecija Rep Rodolfo Antonino, Davao del Sur Rep Marc Douglas Cagas IV, Bo?chjhol Rep Arthur C. Yap, Leyte Rep Sergio Apostol, Batangas Rep Hermilando I Mandanas, Quezon Rep Danilo Suarez, La Union Rep Victor Francisco Ortega and Occidental Mindoro Rep Ma Amelita Villarosa.
Abad said the PDAF releases are shown on the DBM website.
Appearing before the impeachment court on Monday, March 12, Tiangco linked Corona’s impeachment to the solons’ pork barrel, saying Malacañang dangled it in exchange for a vote against Corona. (Tiangco eventually did not sign the complaint against the Chief Justice and quit the majority coalition).
Tiangco recalled his “bad experience” when he chose not to sign the impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in March 2011. Because of his refusal to sign the Gutierrez complaint, Tiangco said the release of his PDAF or pork barrel that year was delayed.
As in Corona’s case, the Aquino administration pushed for the impeachment of Gutierrez.
Tiangco said he repeatedly wrote Abad to ask about the release of his pork barrel but initially got no response.
“Wala pa ring nire-release na SARO (special allotment release order) sa akin samantalang sa iba, na-release na halos lahat,” said Tiangco. (No SARO was released to me while almost everyone else got theirs.)
Tiangco claimed Abad eventually texted him the following message: “On my own, I cannot withhold legislators’ PDAF. I suggest you talk to PNoy. Speaker Belmonte can help you.”
Tiangco admitted though that he eventually got his pork in August 2011, much later than May, when the other solons supposedly received theirs.
But Abad said Tiangco “miserably fails in his attempt to establish that we have a policy of withholding the PDAF releases of solons who voted against the two impeachment complaints.”
Trial resumes on Tuesday, March 13, at 2 pm. Tiangco, a witness for the defense, is expected to return to the witness stand. – Rappler.com