Palace allies seek pork barrel, decry favoritism

Published by rudy Date posted on July 14, 2011

Administration and opposition lawmakers have decried the long delay in the release of their pork barrel funds and urged Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad to give priority to funds intended for scholarships, medical assistance and infrastructure projects.

Some of the Palace allies denounced the alleged favoritism in the release of pork barrel, or Priority Development Assistance Fund, amounting to P70 million for each House member.

Senators are entitled to P200 million in PDAF while congressmen get P70 million each —P40 million for infrastructure and P30 million for “soft” projects which include the budget for health and education. These funds are released in four tranches.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has said that 66 percent of the 285 House members have received the special allotment release order, the go signal for the use the first trranche of the pork barrel.

But Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, an administration ally, says he has yet to receive his, saying that the delay has been disrupting the economic activity in the country and the delivery of social services to his constituents.

Tiangco complained that the Budget department kept his pork despite his repeated request.

“These priority projects are badly needed in my district. I am saddened that the release of the PDAF allocation for the district of Navotas is being withheld,” said Tiangco, who linked the delay to his refusal to vote for the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez when her case was taken up at the plenary.

“Prior to the voting of impeachment against then Ombudsman (Ma. Merceditas) Gutierrez and the postponement of the ARMM elections, I refused to believe those rumors that voting against those measures would result in non-release of our PDAF,” Tiangco said. “Now the zero (pork)for a no vote was proven to be quite true,” Tiangco said.

Palace allies who have yet to get their pork include Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores, Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles among others. Oppositionists such as Deputy Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito also complained of delay in the release of their pork.

House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, former head of the House committee on appropriations, said the DBM should not delay the pork barrel. –Maricel Cruz, Manila Standard Today

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