MANILA, Philippines – Even lawmakers who voted last year against the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez got their share of pork barrel funds, records from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) show.
The same thing is true for those who voted against the impeachment of Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.
Even former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo got pork for her district, albeit not the full P70 million that each congressman was supposed to receive in allocations for their district or sector per year.
Moreover, the DBM online database also shows that the solons got their pork barrel allocations at similar intervals–regardless it seems, whether they voted for or against impeachment in both instances.
This data appears to contradict the statement of Navotas representative Tobias “Toby” Tiangco, who told the impeachment court on Monday, March 12, that Malacañang used the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, to pressure lawmakers to vote for the impeachments.
Of known Arroyo allies, only Zambales (1st District) Rep Ma. Milagros Magsaysay did not appear to have received any portion of the PDAF for 2011.
Rappler tried to reach budget secretary Florencio Abad to get an explanation on why this is so, but has yet to receive a response.
There were 46 solons who voted against the Gutierrez impeachment in March 2011, and 98 solons who voted against the Corona impeachment in December 2011.
If there’s truth in Tiangco’s claim, these solons would have had a hard time getting their P7 million PDAF last year, more so with the 35 solons who voted against both impeachment complaints.
But Budget Secretary Florencio Abad clarified in a report that other legislators who also voted against both impeachment complaints still got their PDAF.
The lawmakers cited by Abad include key allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo:
- Edcel Lagman (Albay, 1st district)
- Rodolfo Antonino (Nueva Ecija, 4th district)
- Marc Douglas Cagas IV (Davao del Sur, 1st district)
- Arthur C. Yap (Bohol, 3rd district)
- Danilo Suarez (Quezon, 3rd district)
- Victor Francisco Ortega (La Union, 1st district)
Lagman got the entire P70 million pork barrel allocation per solon, which he received in parts in April, June, and October.
The same is true for Cagas, who got his pork in parts in April, September, and October. The last installment was released on December 1, 2011.
Suarez got half of his PDAF on October 4 and 18, 2011 and the other half on December 13 and 14, 2011–only fews days after the Congress decision on Corona.
Ortega also got the full P70 million pork barrel allotment for the year released from June to November.
Other opposition lawmakers received shares of the PDAF but got amounts far less than the allocated P70 million budget per congressman.
Yap, for one, only got a total of P49.25 million. A big chunk of this amount was released only in October 2011, and a final installment was given to him 2 days after the Corona voting in Congress.
Antonino got P35 million, released on August and September.
Former president Arroyo got one of the lowest shares in the PDAF for 2011, with only P30,781,817. Though there were already initial budget released in July 2011, the bigger installment came on December 8 and 15, 2011.
Other GMA allies who voted against both impeachments include Camarines Sur representative Rolando Andaya, Arroyo’s former budget secretary. He got P69 million of pork barrel, with chunks released on April, October, and November.
Tiangco, who testified at the impeachment court that Aquino’s allies at the House of Representative used the threat of non-release or withholding of the PDAF in order to coerce lawmakers into signing the complaint against Corona, received the entire P70 million in allocation for the lone district of Navotas.
A part of the budget for the solon was first released on July 27, then on October 27, and finally on November 9–more than a month before the Corona impeachment decision in Congress.
“Rep. 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,” Abad said. – Rappler.com