Abad 'meant well' in implementing DAP, Serge says
MANILA - Senator Sergio Osmeña III said he did not feel bribed when he was given an additional P50 million on top of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation in 2012 just months after he voted for the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
"I did not feel bribed because I always vote my conscience. And I don't care whether you give me or not," Osmeña told ANC's "Beyond Politics."
Osmeña also pointed out that former Senator Joker Arroyo, one of the three senators who voted to acquit Corona, was also in the Department of Budget and Management's (DBM) list of DAP recipients.
"Did they bribe Joker to vote against?" he said.
Osmeña admitted that he did not know at that time where the P50 million came from, but "[he] didn't really care."
He noted that senators really "tend to get more" than their pork barrel allocation.
The money later turned out to be from the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), several acts and practices of which were recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
"But they did not say DAP. So we didn't know what the hell it was and we didn't really care," Osmeña said.
The senator, meantime, clarified that the money never passed through their hands.
"Let me make this clear: we never get the money. The money is never transferred to the Senate or the House of the Representatives. All they say is, 'We are allowing you to identify P20 million worth of projects.' So all we do is write and identify, and it's up to them," he said.
He said he allocated the P50 million worth of DAP funds that he received mostly to farm-to-market roads of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Meanwhile, Osmeña said he believes Budget Secretary Butch Abad "meant well" when he implemented the DAP.
He said while the high court has declared as illegal some acts under the program, he does not believe there was any "criminal intent" on the part of Abad.
"I think there should be difference between the unconstitutionality and the criminal intent. I don't think there was any criminal intent on the part of DBM and Secretary Butch Abad. I think he meant well," he said.
The senator also believes any impeachment bid against President Benigno Aquino III over the DAP will not prosper.
"I don't think it will get anywhere in the House," Osmeña said.