Recto, Osmena did not know purpose of additional funds

by Jing Castaneda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2013 05:02 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2013 01:02 AM

MANILA - Both senators Serge Osmeña and Ralph Recto admitted receiving additional funds after the Corona impeachment trial but they don't remember when exactly these were released or even how much was released.

At that time, they did not even know if it was part of the Priority Development Assistance Fund or not.

Both are adamant, however, that it wasn't a bribe in exchange for convicting former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

What is important is that the projects are legitimate and have been properly liquidated, Osmena said.

He said P30 million of his funds went to the University of the Philippines in Cebu, and P70 million to a classroom in Negros.

“We have their pictures,” he said. "May dumating na P100 million, okay, but there was no arrangement na sinabi nila sa akin na if you vote for, I will give this to you. Ay no, hindi ako tatanggap ng ganoon. ... hindi ko alam yang [Disbursement Acceleration Program], o pati yung [Various Infrastructure including Local Projects].”

He said it was the first time he has heard of the last two.
He said the timing of the release would have been more suspect if it was before the impeachment trial.

“I have no idea how they describe and what they call it. walang kuwenta sa akin yan," Osmena said.

Recto is also singing the same tune, saying that there's nothing irregular with the timing since senators normally submit a list of their PDAF projects around August.

He said it was also the first time he heard about DAP.

"Noong panahon ng impeachment, ni isang sentimo wala akong hiningi, hindi rin ako nag-submit ng list of projects at the start of the year because I don't want that to cloud the impeachment. We were requested to submit a list of projects after the impeachment, around August 2012,” he said.

He thought then it was part of the regular PDAF. “Now, I find out it's from another item called DAP. Wala namang DAP sa budget, there's no such animal in the budget. So I suppose galing ito sa savings from different governmentt agencies,” Recto said.

He was quick to say, however, that President Benigno Aquino III should have some sort of flexibility.

"Karamihan ng budget, dapat naka-line-item, so nakikita ng taumbayan. What you see is what you get. Kung maraming naka-line item sa mga budget, di mo na kailangan mag-DAP at mas madaling i-bid out ang mga projects. But I believe that the President should have some sort of flexibility like calamity fund, or contingent fund and a few lump-sum appropriations but not necessarily ganito kalalaki," Recto said.

Until now, Recto said he still doesn't know the total amount of funds that went to his office for that year.

He insisted it wasn't a bribe, and neither does he want to put any malice into it.