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I rise today on a matter of personal privilege with regard to the allegations hurled against me and my colleagues - Senators Enrile and Revilla - in relation to the so-called “PDAF scam.”
I also rise, Mr. President, to tell the untold story of PDAF as well as to expose the biases and prejudices against the opposition of certain institutions, like the media, the Commission on Audit, the Department of Budget and Management, and even the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Senate.
Mr. President, since the story broke on the alleged anomalies involving the priority development assistance fund or PDAF, there has been a serialized and obvious concerted effort in the media to demonize me along with other members of this chamber allegedly involved. “Mala tele-novela ang pagsasadula ng PDAF scam, kung baga.”
The media have prominently printed screaming headlines that have serialized reports designed to villify us before the bar of public opinion. Ako, si Senator Enrile and Revilla at ako ang tila ba inuulam at pinagpipistahan mula almusal, tanghalian, merienda at hapunan.
Eto ang ilan sa maligalig na headlines –
At eto pa -
We have been singled out, Mr. President, as our people should know, in the so-called 10-billion peso PDAF scam. We have yet to be afforded the opportunity to confront the evidence thrown against us but sadly, in the eyes of the Filipino people, we have already been marked and portrayed as the worst thieves and scoundrels of the government.
And just to belabor and drive home this point, even the Commission on Human Rights has recognized what is being done to us. Kamakailan lang, kinundena ng komisyon ang trial by publicity na ginagawa sa mga nasasangkot sa pork barrel scam.
On the other hand, Amado Doronilla’s column may have sadly and aptly predicted where all these may lead to when he wrote and I quote: “What is endangered in this mass hysteria lusting for blood, without going through due process, is that we might be laying the ground for the lynching or sending to the gallows of a fundamental principle of constitutional democracy – a fair administration of justice underpinned by the right to be heard before being condemned as guilty.”
Hypocrites in barong
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, even some of our colleagues here at the Philippine Senate have apparently passed judgment on us.
I initially welcomed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation on the PDAF scam. Sa totoo lang po, gusto ko pong dumalo at mag-participate sa pagdinig patungkol sa PDAF but my lawyers pleaded with me not to. I heeded the advice of my lawyers.
Ngunit bilang pag-respeto pa din sa pagdinig ng Blue Ribbon patungkol sa usapin ng PDAF, I went to the first hearing and personally relayed that i am inhibiting from the proceedings. At kung inyong matatandaan, bago ako nag-inhibit, personal kong pinabatid sa Blue Ribbon ang kahalagahan ng kanilang gagawing pag-imbestiga upang makagawa ng batas na tutugon sa isang mahalagang isyu katulad ng tamang paggugol ng kaban ng bayan, kasama ang pdaf. Nasabi ko po iyon sa paniniwalang “in aid of legislation” po ang gagawing pagdinig. Nagkamali po ako.
Hindi ko naman po pipigilan at wala akong balak na pigilan ang mga resource persons na dumalo at dadalo sa pagdinig na magbanggit ng pangalan kung ito ay kasama sa paglalahad nila ng mga pangyayaring na-aayon sa kanilang nalalaman. Ngunit kailangan po bang ulit-ulitin ang aming mga pangalan na para bang bingi o tanga ang mga kausap? O kaya ay parang isang sirang plaka?
Mr. President, one of our colleagues during the course of these investigations even tried to play to the gallery by making snide remarks while asking the witness about the identity of an alias of a senator involved. Why play this up when there have already been reports in the media on this and which I had vehemently denied? Why play up this issue? He even referred to a known campaign slogan of a fellow senator. Bastusan na ba ito?
Alam ko na alam ng mga taong ito na sila ang tinutukoy ko. Ang tanging mensahe ko lamang sa mga taong ito ay - “sa bawat pagturo ninyo ng mapanghusga at mapangkutyang daliri o hintuturo nyo ay apat na daliri ang nakaturo pabalik sa inyo.”
At mahilig din lang naman na mag-quote mula sa bibliya ang isa sa mga taong ito na parang isang tupang maamo, pagnilayan kaya niya ang mga katagang ito – “kung sino mang walang bahid ng ano mang kasalanan, kayo ang unang bumato sa taong ito.” Huwag kayong mag-malinis at lalong lalo na, huwag naman kayong masyadong ipokrito!
At matanong ko lamang po, Mr. President - bakit ba ang direksiyon ng imbestigasyon ng Blue Ribbon ay tila nililimitahan ng komite sa mga foundation na nai-uugnay kay Napoles? Hindi ba’t may higit sa walongpu’t dalawa (82) ang foundations na nakasaad sa COA report na sinasabing may bahid ng katiwalian?
Sadya bang nagbubulag-bulagan lang sila kaya hindi nakikita ang ibang nilalaman ng COA report katulad ng hindi pagbusisi ng Blue Ribbon Committee patungkol sa pondong inilaan ng ilang legislators sa sarili nilang korporasyon o NGO.
As blatant and as violative of a law as this and yet this does not even merit a mere mention in the blue ribbon investigation? Biruin mo inilagay ang pondo sa isang ngo/foundation na siya mismo ang incorporator o board of director o stockholder. Eh di parang kumuha ka ng pera mula sa isang bulsa at inilagay lang sa kabilang bulsa mo, hindi po ba?
Eto pa. Hindi ba’t paulit ulit na sinasabi ni Senator Guingona sa hearing ang tungkol sa mga kwestionableng transaksyon diumano ng mga Napoles NGOs at mga suppliers nito? Eh bakit hindi niya nakikita o binabanggit ng paulit ulit din sa Blue Ribbon hearing ang mga kwestionableng transaksyon naman ng mga local government units na siyang nag-implement ng proyekyong pinondohan mula sa pdaf ng ilang mambabatas.
Ayon sa COA report mayroong 1.2 billion in LGU transactions funded from PDAF na hindi nag-comply sa procurement law. Ilan sa mga pinanggalingan ng 1.2 billion pesos na ito ay galing sa PDAF ni –
Bakit hindi nababanggit ang mga ito? Dahil ba sila ay inyong kaalyado? Pero hindi ko naman po sinasabi na sila ay nagkasala. Ito po ay base sa COA report na mayroon daw pong irregularities ang kanilang pinaglaanan na pondo.
How about the PDAF allocations ng isang kongresista ng kapit-bayan ng San Juan at ng pangalawang pinakamataas na opisyal sa lower house na si Congressman Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales, Jr. Ng Mandaluyong?
Si Congressman Gonzales ay mahigit anim na taon ng nanunungkulan bilang congressman kaya’t masasabing sa loob ng mga taong ito, nagkaroon na siya ng minimum na 420 million pesos na PDAF allocation. I say minimum, Mr. President, kasi majority leader itong si Congressman Gonzales kaya sigurado akong may natatanggap siyang “additional” mula sa liderato.
Kung susuriin ang COA report, makikitang sa sarili nyang distrito nilalagak ni Congressman Gonzales ang halos lahat ng kanyang PDAF. Sa madaling salita, opisina niya mismo ang implementor ng kanyang PDAF. Eh kaya naman pala isa si Congressman Gonzales na masigasig na nagsusulong na mapanatili ang PDAF. Hindi ba’t nasabi niya kamakailan lang sa plenaryo ng kamara na “sa mga ayaw ng PDAF, eh di ok lang. Kung ayaw nyo, wag nyo.”
Pero maayos naman kayang nagagamit ang kanyang PDAF? Mukhang hindi, dahil ayon sa COA special audit report, 28 suppliers of Mandluyong City denied having undertaken 167 transactions amounting to P28.744 million. Ibig sabihin mayroong 28 suppliers ng Mandaluyong ang nagsabi na wala silang transaction na nagkakahalaga ng 28.7 million pesos sa siyudad ng Mandaluyong kaya maaaring masabi na ghost projects din ang mga iyon.
Still according to the COA report, there were transactions worth P263.676 million considered questionable as the suppliers were not legally and/or physically existing. Hindi matagpuan ang mga suppliers.
Meron pa ngang nakita ang COA na 6 million pesos worth of transactions sa Jollibee! Ano ito? 6 million pesos worth ng Chickenjoy, hamburger at Jolly Hotdog? Langhap na langhap ang sarap, hindi po ba?
Mr. President, napakalinaw ng report ng COA na hindi nagamit sa tama ang PDAF ni Congressman Gonzales. Ngunit ang mga ito ay hindi lumalabas sa pahayagan o ni napag-uusapan. Ito kaya ay dahil siya ay miyembro ng makapangyarihang Liberal Party?
Kamustahin din natin ang ka-tandem ni Congressman Gonzales na si Party-list Representative Florencio Noel. Ang party list ni Congressman Noel ay ang An Waray na naka base sa Leyte, Samar and Biliran. But it might as well be called “an Mandaluyong” kasi ayon sa COA report milyun-milyong PDAF ni Congressman Noel ay nilagak nya sa siyudad na ito. Mula sa 25 million pesos na pondo, sinabi ng COA na 23.9 million pesos worth of transactions did not comply with the procurement law and 19.6 million pesos transactions were with suppliers of questionable existence.
Mr. President, the COA report was likewise peppered with information on anomalous transactions like the 388.3 million pesos PDAF-related transactions of Mandaluyong, Taguig, Tarlac and Las Pinas considered questionable as purported suppliers were not legally and/or physically existing, cannot be located or have issued questionable receipts.
Ang aking pong mga nabanggit ay ilan lamang sa mga questionable transactions or irregularities indicated in the COA special report. At ang mga ito ay hindi sinasama sa kasalukuyang imbestigasyon.
COA special audit report
Now, Mr. President, we in the opposition are also included in the COA special audit but we believe that we have been specifically singled out by the COA. The Commission on Audit finally came out with the results of their special audit covering only - I repeat very empathically Mr. President – covering only the years 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Pati si COA chair Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan ay sumali sa PDAF tele-serye ng kaniyang inilabas sa media noong August 16 ang resulta ng kanilang special audit. Ito siguro ang pinaka unang pagkakataon na sa media inilabas ng COA ang kanilang audit. Ganito na ba ang kalakaran ngayon sa COA?
Whatever happened to Commission on Audit Resolution No. 97-006 which provides, and I quote, that “No COA audit report of whatever nature shall be released to any person until a copy of said report has been officially transmitted to and received by the head of the government agency being audited. The purpose hereof is to give the officials adversely affected in the report with sufficient opportunity to explain their side and also to ensure that no fact or data material to the audit finding is omitted in the report.”
The said resolution further provides that “since the findings in the audit reports are appealable to the commission proper, no member thereof may give an opinion, remark or comment which may cast doubt on the impartiality and objectivity of the member and even cause his disqualification from participating in the deliberation of the case for showing undue interest or bias.”
Nakalimutan na yata ni COA Chair Pulido-Tan ang resolution na ito because it was before the media that she dramatically presented the special audit report. Inilako at inilibot pa ni Chair Pulido-Tan ang audit report sa iba’t ibang TV stations. Emosyonal at ma-drama pa nga niyang sinabi na napahagulgol siya dahil sa kahindik-hindik na nakita nya sa COA report. Aba’y kahit ako o kayo ay mapapa-hagulgol kung ang isang report na ibinigay ay incomplete, walang ni-piso man lang na disallowance and even violative of COA resolution as to the way it was disseminated!
Despite having taken nearly 3 years to conduct, the special audit report was still incomplete in coverage. Chairman Pulido-Tan said that the audit covered only 58% of the total PDAF releases in the years covered (2007 to 2009) and only 32% of total VILP or releases to DPWH. Chairman Pulido-Tan atttributed this crudely done piece-meal report to DBM's failure to render the complete schedule of releases under the 2007-2009 pdaf and the infrastructure projects under the VILP of DPWH.
Bakit sa DBM lamang nag-rely si Chairman Pulido-Tan? May kopya ng SARO na natatanggap ang COA through its resident auditors at the implementing agencies, hindi po ba? Why not question these resident auditors? Why not include or involve them in the special audit and why not require them to provide documents, as is the common practice? Why not look into the book of accounts or trial balance of the audited implementing agencies?
In fact, Mr. President, nowhere can you find in the special audit report of Chairman Pulido-Tan any mention of the comments or statement of results of the regular audit undertaken by resident auditors on PDAF transactions in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Either Chairman Pulido-Tan is too lazy to do her job or she is ignorant of the main function of COA or just plainly clueless as to what are being done by her resident auditors. Noong tinanong kasi siya during the first hearing kung bakit hindi nakita itong sinasabing maling paggamit ng pdaf considering there are resident auditors in every level of governance, here was the lame response of Chairman Pulido-Tan: “I am not really too comfortable answering that because unang-una po, I dont know that for a fact na hindi isinama. Gusto ko lang pong sabihin na yan ho ang isa sa aking mga binabalak na talaga pong tatanungin ko rin yong aming mga resident auditors noong mga panahon na yun kung bakit hindi po nila nakita.”
Ano daw? Eh bakit hindi niya ginawa ang pagtatanong nung binabalangkas pa lang ang report? Bakit hindi inalam ni Chairman Pulido-Tan sa kanyang mga resident auditors kung may nakita silang irregularities during regular audit bago niya inilabas sa media ang sinasabi niyang kahindik-hindik na mga impormasyon?
Ang totoo po, taon-taon (simula ng 2004) ay kasama sa regular audit ng Department of Agriculture ang PDAF na napupunta sa kanilang ahensya. At malamang nasa regular audit din ito ng DSWD, DPWH at iba pang implementing agencies kasama ang local government units. Ang siste, year in and year out, pare-pareho ang findings ng auditor na hindi tama ang pag-gugol patungkol sa PDAF na napupunta sa implementing agency ngunit wala ni isang disallowance kaya nag-tuloy-tuloy ang pagdaloy ng PDAF sa mga ahensiyang ito.
Kung taon-taon ay kasama sa regular audit ng mga implementing agencies ang PDAF dapat ay taon-taon din kasama ito sa sinusumiteng report ng COA sa Kongreso. It should be remembered that under Republic Act 7226, COA is required to submit to Congress annual reports of amounts obligated, warrants issued and expenditures made in each municipality, province and city by national government agencies, and instrumentalities, including GOCCs. Did this escape the scrutiny of the powerful congressional oversight committee on public expenditures?
Now Mr. President, to further prove the incompleteness of the COA report, consider the following:
1. Per the COA report total releases for PDAF, VILP and other sources amounted to 115.987 billion pesos but of this staggering amount, COA was able to audit only 41 billion pesos. Ano ang nangyari at saan napunta ang mahigit kumulang na 75 billion pesos?
2. The report said that appropriation for PDAF (soft projects) for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 amounted to more than P29 billion. And out of this P29 billion, COA was able to audit P8 billion pesos only! Nasaan ang P21 billion pesos? Na-release ba ito? Kanino napunta? Bakit hindi na-audit?
3. The COA report also said that it was not able to establish the total releases for each legislator. Kaya ba,
2 million pesos lang ang na audit kay Congresswoman Henedina Abad?
178 million pesos kay Congressman Niel Tupas?
197 million pesos lang kay Congressman Isidro Ungab?
351 million lang kay senator Allan Peter Cayetano?
5 million lang ang na audit sa PDAF ni dating Senador Mar Roxas?
3 million pesos naman lang kay Senator Trillanes?
Samantalang ang kay Enrile, Estrada at Revilla ay binusisi at tiningnan ang kabuuan ng kanilang PDAF? What makes us so special Chairman Pulido-Tan?
4. The report was peppered with remarks such as “unidentified legislator.” It was not able to identify the legislators behind the 69.2 billion pesos in infrastructure projects and the legislators behind the more than one (1) billion pesos PDAF releases! Seventy billion pesos ang hindi malaman kung kanino napunta. Hindi ba dapat malaman ng publiko kung sino ang mga legislators na ito? Hindi ba talaga ma-identify o ayaw lang talagang i-identify ni Chairman Pulido-Tan?
5. The report also said that it is a government-wide performance audit yet it covered only 3 national government implementing agencies – agriculture, DPWH and DSWD; 5 provinces (Tarlac, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental) and nine (9) local government units. Paano nila nasabi na government-wide ito? Obviously and pointedly selective and biased ang audit na ito, hindi po ba?
Mr. President, our people should know that curiously, even the report of Chairman Pulido-Tan during the first hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee on the PDAF scam was deliberately selective and again blatantly incomplete just like her special audit report. Bakit ko po nasabi ito?
1. Una. The special audit report covered 82 NGOs to which PDAF was transferred by the implementing agencies. But what was conveniently presented by Chairman Pulido-Tan during the hearing ay walo lamang! She even classified these 8 NGOs as Napoles NGOs. Wala naman po akong nabasa sa special audit report na ganitong klasipikasyon ng NGOs. Paano at saan kaya nakalap ni Chairman Tan ang ganitong impormasyon? May first hand information kaya si Chairman Pulido-Tan sa mga NGOs ni Ms. Napoles?
2. Pangalawa. The special audit report also covered PDAF releases to 371 legislators. Yet during the hearing again, Chairman Pulido-Tan conveniently mentioned and repeatedly named only four (4) legislators - Enrile, Revilla, Estrada and Honasan. At ang nakakamangha dito, noong pinapabanggit na sa kanya ang iba pang pangalan ng legislators, Chairman Pulido-Tan suddenly excused herself. Biglang nahilo si Chairman Pulido-Tan at umalis ng senado.
We therefore ask why, Mr. President. Why the propensity for selective reporting? Why are certain pieces of information readily released while others are conveniently kept hidden?
Mga kababayan, eto po ang kopya ng COA special audit report. More than 450 pages all in all. And nowhere, nowhere in all these pages can you find a single peso of disallowance or even a suspension! Ito po dapat ang nagpahagulgol kay Chairman Pulido-Tan.
Di ba nga at sinabi ni Chairman Pulido-Tan na kahindik-hindik ang nakita nya sa report – excessive releases, anomalous transactions such as bogus ngos, non-existent beneficiaries, overpriced inputs - eh bakit walang disallowance mula sa COA?
No single peso disallowance. This, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as our people must know, is the most blatant, inept defect in the special audit report. Given that under the constitution, the COA has exclusive power to disallow expenses and given the plethora of cases decided by the Supreme Court upholding the disallowances made by COA, bakit walang ni-piso na disallowance dito sa audit ng PDAF? There were also no recommended realistic and effective measures to enable the government to recover government funds allegedly wasted on anomalous transactions by the implementing agencies and lgus.
Very clearly, Chairman Pulido-Tan failed to obey the constitutional mandate reposed on COA, and that is, compliance audit focused on public accountability that disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive and extravagant or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds. Add also the fact that she violated, and continues to do so, COA Resolution 97-006.
Chairman Pulido-Tan, gumising ka na! Mukhang lagi po kayong may jet-lag kaka-biyahe nyo sa ibang bansa.
Five (5) out of the country travels in 2010. Nine (9) in 2011. At noong nakaraang taon naman (2012), sampung beses! Halos buwan-buwan wala sa bansa si Chairman Pulido-Tan. At sa kasalukuyang taon lamang, as of August 2013, naka biyahe na sa labas ng bansa ng siyam (9) na beses si Chairman. Kahindik-hindik, di po ba? At mukhang mapapahagulgol din tayo dito.
Kaya po siguro mukhang hindi nyo natutukan at nabantayan ng husto ang paggawa ng special audit report kasi panay ang travel nyo. Hindi po ba’t kaya hindi rin kayo naka attend ng ilang pagdinig ng Blue Ribbon ay dahil sinabi nyong hindi “polite” pag hindi kayo ang personal na mag punta sa new york? Balita ko po eh pwede naman pala na hindi kayo mag punta doon for our candidature sa un board of audit kasi kayang kaya naman gawin ng mga taga DFA at ng ating Philippine Mission sa New York ang pag kampanya, na sa Nobyempre pa naman ang botohan.
Chairman Pulido-Tan, gawin nyo po muna ng maayos ang inyong trabaho at hanapin ang P69.2 billion pesos unaudited releases noong 2007, 2008 at 2009. At tapusin nyo na rin po muna ang pag audit ng mga pondong nailaan noong 2010, 2011 at 2012. Huwag po ang pag tra-travel sa ibang bansa ang inyong atupagin.
At ang isa pang hirit patungkol sa COA Mr. President, since when did coa ever start to have its audit findings validated by a broadsheet?! Kahindik- hindik kasi ang statement ni Chairman Pulido-Tan ng kanyang sabihin sa isang pahayagan -- “Inquirer validates our findings. It’s providential!” Is this the kind of Commission on Audit we have now? Commission on Audit pa nga ba o commission on accusations na ang ibig sabihin ng COA? At ang ibig sabihin naman ng SAO na nagsagawa ng audit ay “Selective Audit Office?”
Now Mr. President, at the very heart of this issue is the allegation that Ms. Janet Lim Napoles and her bogus NGOs cornered a huge chunk of the legislator’s PDAF allocations.
It is also alleged that we, the legislators implicated, knowingly allocated funds to these allegedly bogus NGOs. Worst of all, we are also accused of pocketing commissions from Ms. Napoles in exchange for channeling our PDAF allocations to government agencies at her behest.
Plainly stated in tagalog: ninakaw ni Ms. Napoles ang PDAF gamit ang mga pekeng NGO at pinaghatian ito ng mga mambabatas at ni Ms. Napoles sa halip na mapunta sa mga tunay na proyekto.
Kaya ngayon, anumang pagtanggi namin at anumang pagpapaliwanag namin ay hindi na pinakikinggan at hindi na matanggap ng galit nating mga mamamayan dahil nakundisyon na ang kanilang paniniwala ng walang humpay na istorya sa media.
Hindi pa man nagpapasiya ang mga naatasan ng pangulo na suriin ang mga testimonya at magsampa ng kaukulang kaso base sa ebidensiya, nahusgahan na kami ng walang kalaban-laban lalo na ng makapangyarihan mga alagad ng media.
Ginoong Pangulo, masakit at mabigat ang mga paratang na ito. Ngunit higit na masakit ay ang kawalan ng katarungan at walang habas na pag-didiin at pang-gigipit sa amin saisang hindi patas na paliwanagan.
Nasabi ko na at nasabi na rin ng aking mga kasamahang napagbibintangan na handa kaming humarap sa anumang imbestigasyon.we stand by this, Mr. President, and we remain accountable for our actions as elected senators of this chamber.
At yaman din lamang na kapwa senador at kasamahan dito sa senado mismo ang nag-iimbestiga para umano malaman ang puno’t dulo ng sinasabing katiwaliang ito at yaman din lamangna humaharap sila ngayon sa ating mamamayan bilang mga taga-usig para malaman ang katotohanan, marahil napapanahon na rin upang ilahad at malaman ng lahat ang ilang katotohanan na hindi sinasakop ng media ukol sa tinatawag na PDAF o pork barrel.
Kung talagang sinsero at seryoso tayo na itama ang mali at isa-ayos ang tiwali, nararapat lamang na malaman ng sambayanan ang buong katotohanan sa likod ng PDAF. Here now, Mr. President, as our people must know, are some ugly facts and information on the PDAF that our people must know and which I challenge anyone to deny:
We all know that the executive department wields the power over the release of PDAF allocations. During the administration of President Gloria Arroyo, it was a known fact that those who were not friendly, or allies of her government had to beg for the release of their PDAF and infrastructure funds.
Some of us just totally gave up and chose not to avail of our allocations because we knew that we will not get any releases because we are from the opposition.
We know too that the executive has used the releases for PDAF and infrastructure projects as a form of reward or incentive to secure the support of legislators for or against certain pet legislations or for other political purposes.
Much has been written about how former President Arroyo used the PDAF to prevent several impeachment cases against her from prospering in the house of representatives and thus never reached the Senate.
Mr. President, even DBM Secretary Florencio Abad’s text message warning that there will be no releases to certain congressmen if they did not vote in favor of impeaching former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was very much publicized and confirmed by a number of lawmakers. As expected, Sec. Abad had to deny that he sent those text messages.
At noong kasagsagan ng debate sa sin tax bill, Ginoong Pangulo, naisulat din sa mga pahayagan na nag-aalok ang secretary ng presidential legislative liaison office o pllo sa mga kongresista ng release o mga saro para ma-ipasa ang panukalang batas na iyon. I voted against this, kaya wala akong SARO dito.
Ganoon din ang mainit na balita noong tinatalakay ng kongreso ang kontroberyal na reproductive health bill. Again, I voted against this measure, kaya wala po akong SARO.
Hindi na tuloy nakapagtataka ng kumalat ang balita na ang mga kongresista at mga senador ay inalok din ng pdaf para siguraduhin ang impeachment at conviction ng dating punong hukom ng korte suprema.
Hahayaan ko na ang taong bayan ang gumawa ng konklusyon kung ito ay totoo o hindi, pero ito ang aking maidadagdag sa kwento — after the conviction of the former chief justice, those who voted to convict were allotted an additional 50 million pesos as provided in a private and confidential letter memorandum of the then chair of the senate finance committee. Saan galing ang pinamigay na pondo? I am sure alam ni Secretary Abad ang sagot sa tanong na ito. At sigurado din ako na hindi unilateral decision ni senate president drilon ang pamimigay ng 50 million pesos kada senador.
I maintain however Mr. President that I stand by my decision in my vote to convict the former chief justice and assure our people that i was never influenced by this incentive which came after the fact.
But another fact, Mr. President, and which was confirmed in an interview by no less than former budget secretary and now Congressman Rolando Andaya, Jr., Is that 200 million pesos for each senator, and 70 million pesos for each congressman in annual allocations are “only minimums.” Andaya said in the past that there was no rule setting a maximum amount that a legislator can receive in pork barrel funds. “It all depended on the leadership of the Senate and the House and of course, Malacanang. What we had was a minimum amount.” These were Andaya’s own words, not mine.
So in effect, he practically confirmed that the executive allows legislators to avail themselves of allocations over and above the reported amounts. So if we scrutinize the GAA or the budget law taon-taon, mula 1999 to 2010, walang makikita na probisyon na nagsasabing magkano ang kabuuang PDAF at VILP ng mga legislators. Sa GAA ng 2011 lamang nagkaroon muli ng malinaw o specific provision on PDAF and VILP allocations.
Ang tila hindi malinaw na systema at tila sikretong kalakaran kung magkano talaga ang PDAF na natatanggap ng bawat mambabatas ang marahil dahilan why the DBM refuses to render a complete account of releases to all lawmakers as requested by the COA.
Pati ang DBM website ay hindi kumpleto. It only provides information on PDAF releases from 2009 onwards. Bakit wala ang 2008? 2007? 2006? At iba pang taon? Pag binuksan mo naman ang 2009, the PDAF releases for then Senators Biazon, Roxas, Pimentel and Senators Escudero, Trillanes and Manny Villar are among those conspicuously not posted.
Ladies and gentlemen, i believe our very own Senate President also acknowledged in an ambush interview that the release of the legislator’s PDAF lies solely at the discretion of the executive.
The senators who served as heads of the finance committee of the senate, notably, Senators Manny Villar, Edgardo Angara, Enrile, and the Senate President, all know that the budget negotiations they conduct with the house and the DBM include negotiations not only for the PDAF and the infrastructure projects of legislators but also for so-called “congressional initiatives” or “budget insertions.”
At one point, when Sen. Edgardo Angara was chair of the finance committee, i remember he even advised the senators in a caucus that there was a so-called “economic stimulus fund” where legislators from both houses were allowed to avail allocations for projects over and above the regular pork barrel. Thereafter, we were all asked to submit our listings to the committee.
Am I accurate so far, Mr. President?
At sa sarili kong karanasan mula ng ako’y mahalal bilang senador noong 2004, ang mga opisyal ng senado at ng kongreso, mula sa Senate President, Senate President Pro-Tempore, Majority floor leader hanggang Minority floor leaders at chairman ng Finance Committee ay nabibigyan ng karagdagang alokasyon taon-taon.
Hindi rin lingid sa kaalaman ng lahat ng senador na para mabilis na ma-ipasa ang budget proposal ng administrasyon para sa susunod na taon, pinapaki-usapan tayo na huwag ng masyadong busisiin ang budget at pagkatapos nun ay magpapa-release ng saro pagkatapos ma-aprubahan ang budget.yan ang kailangang malaman ng taumbayan.
Foregoing considered, I challenge now the Senate’s legislative budget research and monitoring office or LBRMO under Director Yolanda Doblon to disclose in full not only the PDAF allocations but all these budgetary amendments or insertions and extra amounts authorized by the finance committee chair for each senator over the years starting from the 12th congress to the present.
The LBRMO provides the research and staff support for the finance committee. But its real boss is neither the finance committee chair nor the senate president. They serve the senate as an institution. So I am very confident that director doblon who has served under so many finance committee chairmen in her decades of exemplary service will respond to my call to bare all these facts.
I likewise challenge Secretary abad of the Department of Budget and Management na ibigay sa COA ang mga dokumento upang makumpleto ang pag audit ng 115 billion pesos na nana-release noong 2007, 2008 at 2009. Hinahamon ko din si secretary abad na ilantad sa publiko ang mga dokumento patungkol sa mga “additionals,” “rewards” o “suhol” para sa mga mambabatas.
Nakakapagtakang napaka tahimik ng DBM sa gitna ng usapin patungkol sa kaban ng bayan. Napaka-halaga ng papel na ginagampanan ng dbm kaya’t dapat sila ang nangunguna sa pagtatanong kung saan napunta ang inilabas nilang pondo, hindi ba?
All of us are now deluged with so many requests for funding of projects and financial assistance – from local government executives, political leaders and supporters and our constituents.
They come to our offices for help. I and some other senators have consistently allocated part of our PDAF for the benefit of indigent patients seeking medical attention in government hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, the national kidney and transplant institute, the Children’s Hospital, Orthopedic Center, the Philippine General Hospital, and even to hospitals outside of Metro Manila.
But of course, none of these is good copy or juicy talk because the current attention and fixation is on the Napoles issue instead of serious and disturbing developments unfolding in our country, like in Zamboanga.
Sino ba sa atin dito sa senado ang hindi nakakatanggap ng dagsa-dagsang request para mabigyanng PDAF? Lahat ba ng nag-iimbestiga ngayon ay nakaka-siguro na hindi nasasayang, nabubulsa o na-didivert ang kanilang inilaang pondo sa kamay ng mga ahensiyang pinagkatiwalaan ng dbm na humawak ng pondong ito? May isa bang makapagsasabi na napakalinis ng paggamit ng kanilang pdaf para magkaroon sila ng karapatang sumali sa pambabato ng putik?
The media frenzy, the cry for blood and for heads to roll has reached much intensity that it seems impossible now for those implicated to be given any just and fair treatment.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that once they are done reviewing the affidavits and testimonies of the so-called whistleblowers, then all those implicated will have the opportunity to file counter-affidavits. And then based on the panel’s review of these, they will decide if there is probable cause to file appropriate charges against some respondents based on evidence.
Sa kaunti kong nalalaman sa batas, iyan po ang proseso. Sana nga may tunay na hustisya. Sana nga, mayroon pa rin ang bawa’t isa sa atin ng karapatan ng lahat ng inaakusahan sa ilalim ng ating saligang-batas. Mayroon pa ba kaya ngayong presumption of innocence pagkatapos ng paninira at panlilibak na sinasapit namin ngayon?
Na mention ko na rin lang naman ang pangalan ni Secretary de Lima, Mr. President, I received reports that the second batch of case that the DOJ will file would still pertain to PDAF-related transactions with Napoles NGOs. And after this, DOJ will just let the inter-agency body created by the President investigate the whole gamut of the so-called PDAF scam. Should this be the case, sadly it will only confirm and validate our belief that all of these are politically motivated and it would appear that the government is not really sincere in reforming the system.
Darkest hours before dawn
Mr. President, I believe that we all here are victims of a flawed system which is so ingrained that it has been institutionalized. However, the recent events which unfolded before us have given us the chance to finally reform the system and do away with the “pork barrel” mentality.
There has been clamor from the people to abolish PDAF and to hold accountable those who have bastardized the system for their own vested interests.
Ngunit sa gitna ng lahat ng ingay at sigaw ng sambayanan na baguhin ang bulok na sistema, naway marinig pa rin ang tinig ng mga nauna nang pinaratangan. Bigyan naman sana kami ng pagkakataon na linisin ang nadungisan naming pangalan at harapin ang mga nag-aakusa sa amin sa tamang panahon at sa isang pantay at walang kinikilingan na hukom.
At kapag nabago na ang bulok na sistema, naiwasto ang tiwali, at naitama ang mali, doon pa lang natin masasabi na tunay na ang tuwid na daan.
Maraming salamat at magandang hapon. - Rappler.com
Sen Estrada delivered this privilege speech at the Senate on Wednesday, September 25