No PDAF scam — Andaya

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Latest News Philippines: No PDAF scam — Andaya –

“WHERE are you? Come out and defend the truth!

This was the challenge of former Budget and Management Secretary, now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya to former heads of different implementing government agencies on the controversial pork barrel releases from 2007 to 2009.

Andaya, who served as DBM Secretary during the period in question or under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said there are no irregularities in the releases of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) since they are properly documented.

He urged former secretaries to break their silence and tell the truth behind the pork barrel scam, especially since their departments and attached agencies implemented the projects funded by the PDAF.

Andaya refused to name those officials but he said they can help clarify the controversy stirred by the Commission on Audit (CoA).

Based on  the special audit report of the CoA, many lawmakers have received pork barrel exceeding their allocations and that P6.156-billion pork barrel funds of 12 senators and 180 representatives  went to 82 mostly questionable NGOs, including 10 linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.

“The former secretaries of the different implementing agencies can help clarify the matter (pork barrel scam). They should speak out now and help explain how they implemented the projects funded by PDAF,” Andaya, who served in the DBM from 2006 until he resigned before the end of 2009 to reclaim his previous post in Congress.

Some of the former secretaries of the implementing agencies are ex-agriculture secretary now Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap.; ex-Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, and former Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral.

According to Andaya, the NGOs which received pork barrel funds were accredited by implementing government agencies.

Likewise,  Andaya clarified that all transactions he made during his stint as secretary of the DBM was authorized by law or the annual general appropriations act (GAA) and was not according to the wishes of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is now a Pampanga congresswoman.

“The release is not about the choice of Mrs. Arroyo. It is not correct to say that she can choose who and how much to give each lawmaker. All the releases that have been made under my watch are authorized by law or the GAA. There is no irregularity here,” Andaya said.

“It’s (release of pork barrel) like IRA (internal revenue allotment) funds, the release is based on what the law prescribed,” he added.

He also reiterated that congressional “insertions” are not irregular, stressing that the release of additional funds were meant to augment the P70-million PDAF of each congressman and the senators’ P200-million annually.

“Hindi ibig sabihin na hindi na puwedeng humingi ng karagdagan (allocation). Hindi naman ipinagbabawal na humingi ka ng dagdag para sa distrito mo,” Andaya said.


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