Team PNoy, UNA senatorial bets get 'pork'

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 18 2013 07:48 AM | Updated as of Mar 18 2013 03:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senatorial candidates of the administration Team PNoy coalition and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) have been receiving their pork barrel funds ahead of the May 13 elections.

As of last Friday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P166.8 million to Team PNoy’s Aquilino Pimentel III, P89.5 million to Loren Legarda, P88.8 million to Francis Escudero, P30 million to Antonio Trillanes IV, and P7.3 million to Alan Peter Cayetano.

The five senators are seeking re-election.

Another Team PNoy candidate, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, has received P15.4 million.

Their counterparts from UNA have also received their allocations from the P25-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Sen. Gregorio Honasan of the opposition alliance has received P54 million, while P15 million has been released to Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile.

Another UNA candidate, San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito, has yet to get his pork barrel fund for this year.

In the case of opposition senatorial bet Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales, she is one of four allies of former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose PDAF allocations Malacañanag has been withholding since 2011.

The Palace claims it has been giving the funds to the lawmakers’ constituencies.

Arroyo herself is getting her allotment. She has received P13.8 million for this year. The detained former leader is seeking re-election in Pampanga’s second district. Some P41 million has been made available to Sen. Franklin Drilon, Team PNoy’s campaign manager.

His UNA counterpart Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco has received P5.2 million.

Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, has received P35 million.

The Vice President has a P200-million pork barrel fund, on top of P85 million for “donations and subsidies.” However, the DBM does not post releases to Binay and his projects in its website.

The PDAF allocates P200 million to each senator and P70 million to each member of the House of Representatives.

For this year, congressmen and senators who are finishing their second six-year term of office in June and those who are seeking re-election can avail themselves of only half of their respective allocations.

Those who are running will get the other half in the latter part of the year if they win in the May elections.

In the case of Pimentel, his pork barrel fund exceeded P100 million because all of his P166.8 million represents backlog from last year’s PDAF. This means that he has yet to touch his P100 million for the first half of this year.

Cayetano’s P7.3 million and P3.8 million of Escudero’s P88.8 million also represent 2012 backlog.

The Commission on Audit has uncovered irregularities in the use of PDAF funds of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Honasan, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, and former Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali.