GMA gave P16.5-B 'pork' to allies in 2010

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 05 2014 09:14 AM | Updated as of Mar 05 2014 05:15 PM

MANILA - Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo released P16.5 billion in pork barrel funds to her congressional allies three months before the May 2010 presidential elections, which then Sen. Benigno Aquino III won.

The House of Representatives committee on good government and public accountability learned this yesterday as it opened an investigation into reports that P30 billion in infrastructure funds were missing during Arroyo’s last months in power.

Resolution 592, authored by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, prompted the inquiry.

Arroyo’s pork barrel fund releases shortly before she stepped down and won as representative of Pampanga’s second district are reflected in documents Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson submitted to the good government committee, chaired by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez.

One document is a memorandum dated Aug. 19, 2010 sent by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to President Aquino through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

Aquino was just less than two months in office then.

Abad’s memorandum was about the P68 billion in appropriations congressmen and senators inserted in the 2010 national budget, which the budget chief called “congressional insertions.”

Abad informed the President that as of June 30, 2010, congressional insertions amounting to P16.5 billion had been released, of which P10.6 billion was made available to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and P5.9 billion to the judiciary, constitutional commissions, other agencies and local government units as financial subsidies. Singson told the Rodriguez committee that there was no P30-billion missing fund.

He said congressional insertions amounting to P30.3 billion were allocated to the DPWH, of which P10.6 billion was released.

He said Malacañang withheld the remainder of nearly P20 billion.

Singson said his people had difficulty verifying how the projects funded through the P10.6 billion in pork barrel fund releases were implemented.

He revealed that he was surprised and at the same time puzzled to find out why certain districts were allocated huge funds.

He cited the small province of Biliran, which he said received a total of P1.8 billion from the Arroyo administration before the 2010 elections.

Rodriguez said his district, then represented by Aurelio Gonzalez Jr., “received a total of P502 million in just one month – February – less than three months before the elections.”

“According to the DPWH project monitoring report, there was zero accomplishment in my district. I am not saying that they funded ghost projects, only that there was no accomplishment. We are asking Secretary Singson to verify these projects,” he said.

The committee, upon motion of Evardone, voted to ask the Commission on Audit to conduct a special examination of the P10.6 billion worth of infrastructure projects similar to its scrutiny of the 2007-2009 Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Evardone said he received information that 10 contractors led by E. Gardiola Construction cornered these projects.

The committee decided to invite the contractors and former DPWH chiefs Hermogenes Ebdane and Victor Domingo to its next hearing.

Singson furnished the committee a detailed list of projects funded from the P10.6-billion releases.

The list shows that Caloocan City received P20 million, Mandaluyong City, P120 million; Manila, P54 million; Marikina, P32.9 million; Navotas, P4 million; Parañaque, P20 million; Pasay City, P13.7 million; Pasig, P45.8 million; Quezon City, P75.5 million; San Juan, P4 million; Taguig, P4.2 million, and Valenzuela, P35 million.

Some P5.5 million was released to Apayao, P500,000 to Baguio City, P10.7 million to Ilocos Norte’s first district and P5 million to its second district; P20 million, P27 million, P34.6 million and P80 million to Pangasinan’s first, third, fourth, and sixth districts; P20 million to Cagayan’s third district; P25 million, P147 million, P80 million, and P105 million to Isabela’s first, second, third, and fourth districts; P300 million to Nueva Vizcaya, and P130 million to Quirino.

In Central Luzon, P25 million was made available to Aurora; P10 million, P13 million and P8 million to Bulacan’s first, second and third districts; P32 million and P20 million to Nueva Ecija’s first and fourth districts; P35 million each to Pampanga’s first and second districts and P502.5 million to its third district; P20 million to Tarlac’s third district, and P25 million to Zambales’ second district.

In Southern Tagalog, P60 million was released to Batangas’ second district, P120 million to its third district and P412 million to its fourth district; P43 million to Cavite’s third district; P15 million to Laguna’s first district, P70 million to its second district, P130 million to its third district, and P8 million to its fourth district; P5 million to Quezon’s first district, P560 million to its second district, P120 million to its third district, and P220 million to its fourth district; P92.2 million to Rizal’s first district and P167 million to its second district; P5 million to Marinduque; P19.8 million to Mindoro Occidental and P609.3 million to Romblon.

Some P322.7 million was made available to Albay’s first district, P633 million to its second district and P165 million to its third district; P268 million to Camarines Sur’s first district, P11 million to its second district, P20.1 million to its third district and P5 million to its fourth district; P175 million to Catanduanes; P200 million to Masbate’s second district, and P14 million to Sorsogon’s first district.

In Western Visayas, P5 million was released to Aklan; P636 million to Antique; P2.5 million to Guimaras; P3 million, P25 million and P10 million to Iloilo’s first, second and third districts; P1 million to Iloilo City; P13.7 million to Bohol; P10 million and P90 million to Cebu’s second and third districts; P4 million to Negros Oriental’s second district and P160 million to Siquijor.

In Eastern Visayas, Biliran received P570 million; Eastern Samar, P48.5 million; Leyte’s first district, P735 million; second district, P152 million; third district, P3 million; fourth district, P10 million; fifth district, P210 million; Northern Samar’s first district, P41 million; Samar’s first district, P30 million; and Southern Leyte, P10 million.

In Mindanao, P11 million was released to Tawi-Tawi, P10 million to Zamboanga del Sur, P181 million to Camiguin, P5 million to Lanao del Sur (first district), P10 million to Misamis Occidental (second district), P60 million to Misamis Oriental (second district), P83.5 million to Davao City (first district), P175 million to Davao City’s second district, P7 million to Davao del Norte (second district), P260 million to Davao del Sur (first district), P107 million to Davao Oriental (second district), P77 million to Cotabato (first district), P150 million to South Cotabato (second district), P80 million to Agusan del Norte (first district), and P10 million to Surigao del Norte (first district).