'Congressman got P3-B PDAF, 74 exceed pork'

By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 16 2013 02:39 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2013 02:18 AM

MANILA - At least 74 lawmakers exceeded their pork barrel allocations from 2007-2009, with one congressman getting nearly P3 billion in pork barrel funds, the Commission on Audit said Friday. 

Senators are each given P200 million in pork barrel funds every year while congressmen receive P70 million each. 

"Pag sinabi nating labis labis hindi lang po P1 million o P5 million, ang labis hundreds of millions and at least one lawmaker got almost P3 billion allocation for PDAF,” COA chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan told reporters.

“Paano nangyari na isang kongresista ay halos 3 billion ang na-release sa kanya? Ano itong mga proyekto na ito,” she added. 

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, the budget secretary during the period, said it is possible that some lawmakers got higher pork barrel allocations. 

"In the past, there was no rule that you cannot exceed a certain amount," he told ANC. 

Asked if one congressman got P3 billion pork, he said: "Not in a single release but probably in an aggregate amount. But yes,  I would confirm that. All the records are there. Some legislators got more than others." 

"Once approved, we are left to release these things to the legislators with the knowledge that all of these will be audited," he said. 

Speaking to reporters,  Pulido-Tan also said 12 senators and 180 representatives allocated P6.156 billion in priority development assistance funds to 82 non-government organizations from 2007-2009. 

Of the 82 NGOs, 10 groups that received P2.157 billion in PDAF are presently linked to Janet Lim Napoles.

Pulido-Tan bared a list of irregularities in the use of the pork barrel funds from 2007 to 2009. 

1. The release of P20 million for a certain “Luis Abalos” who is not a congressman

Explained Pulido-Tan: “Sa amin pong pagsusuri, hindi naman po siya naging mambabatas during the 13th and 14th Congress.  Hindi po namin malaman at hindi rin po mai-eksplika ng Department of Budget and Management kung papaano ang isang tao na hindi naman mambabatas nung panahon na yun ay nai-release-an pa rin apparently para sa isang proyektyo in the amount of P20 million.”

2. Funds were released for projects outside of the legislative districts of sponsoring congressman

3. No endorsement from the agencies for which the funds were released, which violates the DBM’s own rules. “The releases were essentially at the behest of the sponsoring legislator. The agencies merely relied on endorsement of legislators. The money was given to the agencies and the agencies gave it to the NGOs,” Pulido-Tan said. 

4. Many of the NGOs were found to be of dubious existence, either unknown or could not be found in the given addresses or gave non-existent addresses, non-existent phone numbers or were traced to mere shanties or informal settlers communities or high-end residences but which turned out not to be the offices of the NGOs but residence of the owner, officer or congressmen.

5. Procurement of goods and services aggregating to billions of pesos were not made through public bidding. “When the funds were downloaded they were free to spend it any way they wanted unlike when it is in government maraming patakran na dapat sundin especially those required by our Procurement Act," she said.

6. Many NGOs used same suppliers usually for purchase of agriculture products. Some suppliers denied transacting with NGOs while some admitted selling seedlings and other products but denied that the transactions reached millions of pesos.

7. Some suppliers did not have business permits and had no SEC registration.

8. P123 million of funds were used to pay salaries of workers in NGOs 

9. Many projects were deficient, overpriced, lacked specifications and subject to split contracts. 

10. 54 projects costing P154 million were constructed on private lots, with no evidence that the lots were turned over to government.

11. There were also cases when the list of beneficiaries were taken from the list of those who took the Board Exam. "Kung si Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle napaiyak, ako napahagulgol," she said.