MANILA (UPDATED) - The Assisi Development Foundation, which reportedly has ties to President Aquino's sister Viel, did not get funds from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of Malacanang, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said.
Militant group Bayan earlier cited a Commission on Audit report that said the Assisi Development Foundation, chaired by former Ambassador Howard Dee and the president's sister Viel Aquino-Dee, was allocated P51.648 million for a milk feeding project under the Dairy Enterprise Development Program that was funded by DAP in 2011.
Aquino’s brother-in-law and husband of Viel, Richard Joseph Dee also sits on the board of the foundation.
The COA report noted the foundation's HAPAG-ASA nutrition program was endorsed by no less than Budget Secretary Butch Abad.
While total DAP funds earmarked for ADF were supposedly P51.648 million, only P2.77 million was obligated as of December 31, 2013.
“Is it right to be endorsing funds to foundations of your relatives, in this case the President’s sister and in-laws? No matter how pure the intentions and how good the track record may be of the Assisi Development Foundation, we cannot help but raise questions on the manner that the DAP funds were allocated, and how the position of the Presidency may have been used to favor one NGO,” Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said in a statement.
In response, Abad said the milk feeding program of the National [Dairy] Authority is released to the dairy cooperative "so no funds are released elsewhere."
"And the dairy cooperative produces the milk and packages them into milk packs and in turn delivers them to LGUs, dioceses and NGOs. It is not true that the milk feeding funds went to the Assisi Development Foundation, not a single centavo went to them. The implementers were the dairy cooperatives and the beneficiaries were really the malnourished children who are found in the dioceses as well as local government units identified and the malnourished children have to be validated.”
NDA: ASSISI/HAPAG-ASA SPENT DAP FUNDS
However, a National Dairy Authority status report on its DAP-related projects as March 2014 showed the Assisi Development Foundation's HAPAG-ASA nutrition program for Caraga, Davao Oriental getting P960,000 from the controversial funding scheme declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The document, which was given to ABS-CBN News on March this year by no less than the National Dairy Authority Administrator Grace J. Cenas, shows that the project was deemed completed as of December 19, 2013.
It had 656 actual beneficiaries from a target of 1,000.
It did not name the legislator involved in the Caraga project and only said that the proponent was Assisi Development Foundation/Hapag-Asa.
A member of the Makabayan bloc, Act Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, also allocated P3 million in DAP funds to a feeding program in General Santos City, South Cotabato, according to the NDA document.
Other lawmakers named in the NDA report detailing DAP-funded feeding projects include Pasay City Rep. Emi Calixto - Rubiano, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, and then- Rep. JV Ejercito of San Juan.