Congressmen won't follow Jinggoy's example
MANILA - Leaders of the House of Representatives maintain no congressman realigned any Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as financial assistance to local government units in the 2014 budget.
This, after reports came out that some senators, including Senator Jinggoy Estrada opted to realign their PDAF to local government units and other agencies.
Sen. Francis Escudero said Estrada realigned P100 million of his PDAF to the city of Manila where his father, former President Joseph Estrada is mayor.
Asked if any congressmen realigned their funds to LGUs, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said: "Wala."
Similarly, House appropriations committee chairman Isidro Ungab said: "No member of the House realigned their previous PDAF to LGUs."
He said all congressmen realigned their PDAF to the following national implementing agencies:
Department pf Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Commission on Higher Education (CHED),
Department of Health (DOH),
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. urged Escudero to name congressmen who allegedly transferred their allocations "in areas where their allies are." The allocations were allegedly done through amendments in the P2.265 trillion national budget for 2014.
"Sen. Chiz should name the congressmen and Rep. (Isidro) Ungab (the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations) should confirm or deny the allegation," he said.
"There is no agreement that PDAF can be realigned to LGUs," Barzaga insisted. "It's only now that I've learned that it was done."
Congress removed the PDAF from the 2014 budget but retained the lawmakers' prerogative to recommend projects to be funded by departments and implementing agencies after the Supreme Court declared the pork barrel system "unconstitutional."
Barzaga said Escudero should clarify his statement since the congressman's constituents might expect social services from him when he was not among those who used PDAF as financial assistance to LGUs.
"My wife (Jenny) is the city mayor of Dasmariñas and our constituents, with this statement of Sen. Chiz Escudero, might have the impression that my PDAF was realigned to Dasmariñas City and my constituents might expect some social benefits coming from my PDAF where in fact there is none," he said.