Abad: No politics in strict pork barrel rules

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2012 11:35 PM | Updated as of Apr 11 2012 06:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Tuesday denied that the stricter releases of Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to lawmakers has anything to do with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona or the realignment of political forces for the 2013 midterm elections.

Abad explained the government merely wants to uphold the conditions set by the General Appropriations Act. "We are streamlining PDAF releases to (1) ensure that projects submitted for funding thru PDAF fall within the menu under the GAA and (2) project releases are accelerated. These rules apply whether representative-proponent is admin or opposition."

Abad added that most of the delays in project releases are due to the realignment of projects, out-of-menu project submissions, or late submissions. "We are in fact already processing submissions. The processing has nothing to do with 2013 nor with the impeachment."

Earlier, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said the Aquino administration is starting to doubt its own allies in tightening the releases of PDAF or pork barrel.

Magsaysay said it's strange that the administration is doubtful that its own allies will not spend the PDAF wisely and transparently..

She said a warning by Abad may also be seen as a warning to the Palace's allies that their PDAF won't be released unless they toe the administration’s line.

This, amid Corona's ongoing impeachment trial and the realignment of forces for the 2013 senatorial elections.

Magsaysay said the menu for PDAF releases issued by the administration is so strict that it's amost impossible for PDAF to be disbursed.

She claimed the administration may be treating its own allies "like kids."

Magsaysay said the administration should just file cases if they find abuses of PDAF.

Magsaysay, an opposition politican, said there is life with no PDAF. She claimed her PDAF has been withheld for years over her staunch support for Aquino's main political opponent, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

She said being PDAF-less only made her work harder to get funding for her district from private sources.

Magsaysay is supposedly in the shortlist for the senatorial ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay's United Nationalist Alliance.

Others reportedly in the list, according to an ABS-CBN News source, are re-electionists  Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Aquilino Pimentel, Miguel Zubiri, Jack Enrile, Joey de Venecia, Gregorio Honasan,  Ernesto Maceda and JV Ejercito.

Others possibly being considered are Richard Gordon, Lani Mercado, Nancy Binay, Alan Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

Magsaysay may be adopted by UNA as she remains a member of Arroyo's Lakas-Kampi-CMD.