Palace to accusers: Where's the hidden pork?

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2014 03:01 AM | Updated as of Mar 08 2014 01:40 AM

MANILA -- Malacanang on Thursday dared its accusers to prove that there is "hidden pork" in the 2014 national budget.

Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma said critics seem to know the details behind their accusations, and it would better that they be allowed to prove the allegations.

“Kung sino man ang nag-allege ‘non, siya na lang muna ang mag-validate at magbigay sa atin ng bill of particulars. Mas maigi... magbigay sa atin ng bill of particulars, mag-name names, magbanggit ng ahensya, magsabi kung sino ang gumagawa, magsabi kung magkano ang nakuha ninoman… Siguro kung sino man ‘yung nagpaparatang siya na lang muna ‘yung tanungin natin. Unfair naman yata na bigla na lang tatanungin kami diyan as if kami ‘yung responsable."

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio earlier said he found P20.8 billion "House pork" and P1.8 billion "Senate pork" tucked in the 2014 budgets of line agencies.

Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes also claimed that the Aquino administration "is continuing the practice of pork," naming no less than Department of Budget and Management Secretary Butch Abad.

Reyes also said a form has allegedly been circulating in the lower House where lawmakers are supposed to identify recipients of projects among several departments.

The Palace confirmed that lawmakers continue to lobby the Executive to gain access to the realigned PDAF now placed in 6 government agencies.

Ombudsman tags LGUs, PNP, AFP

Meantime, the Palace took in stride a report from the Office of the Ombudsman showing that local government units, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have the most number of cases pending before it.

Coloma said,”Unawain po natin ang ibig sabihin ng mga binanggit ninyo. Ayon sa Ombudsman, pinakamaraming kaso ‘yung sangkot sa LGU. Ilan po ba ang LGU dito sa ating bansa? Syempre, kasindami ng probinsya; we have 81 provinces. At doon sa—ilan ba ang chartered cities natin? Almost 100 na yata. Tapos meron pa tayong more than 1,600 municipalities. By sheer number, ilan ang opisyal sa bawat LGU?‘Yun namang PNP at AFP, pinakarami rin sila. I think approximately 125,000 members for each. Kaya sa akin lang, by appreciating those figures, hindi rin naman kagulat-gulat na doon mag-o-occur ‘yung mas maraming insidente kasi mas maraming tao ang maaaring masangkot sa mga usapin.”

Coloma said the Aquino administration continues to stress the principles of good governance among agencies.

“Kaya habang iniuulat na marami ang mga kasong ganyan, kasabay naman po diyan ‘yung patuloy na emphasis by the good governance and reduction of corruption as one of the five pillars of the Philippine Development Plan.”