MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad denied on Monday that it is the policy of the Aquino administration to withhold pork barrel funds of lawmakers who do not endorse impeachment complaints filed by the House majority.
In a text message, Abad denied Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco's testimony that congressmen who do not support impeachment complaints filed by the House majority do not get their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
"Check the House records: many who voted vs. Merci impeachment got their PDAF. So there is no such policy by the administration. So his testimony is irrelevant to the impeachment trial as it doesn't establish a policy," Abad said.
In his testimony, Tiangco complained that his PDAF was delayed after he refused to sign the impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in early 2011.
He said he got in contact with Abad who told him that he had no power to withhold the PDAF.
He said the budget secretary urged him to contact President Aquino through House Speaker Sonny Belmonte.
He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) asked for various explanations for his different projects, which led to delays in the release of his pork barrel funds.
He said he received the first tranche of his pork barrel in August 2011.
Tiangco said he had considered signing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona because he did not want anymore delays in the release of his pork barrel.
He said he did not sign the impeachment complaint because he was unable to read the actual complaint on the day it was signed by 188 lawmakers.