Says he’s open to an investigation
BAYAN MUNA Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said he keeps an open mind about an investigation amid reports that he earmarked P25 million worth of projects funded by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
At the same time, Colmenares, who has endorsed an impeachment complaint against President Benigno S. Aquino III over the DAP issue, urged the conduct of a lifestyle check on all legislators who had endorsed projects funded by the controversial fund.
Colmenares, a critic of the DAP, also demanded that Malacañang publish the full “undoctored” list of projects under DAP for members of Congress as he reiterated his position that the DAP is “wrong” because it allows President Aquino “sole discretion to choose any project for funding.”
“The fact that he funded projects endorsed by prosecutors like me in the Corona trial does not make it right,” the House Senior Deputy Minority Leader said. The Corona trial refers to the impeachment charge filed against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached by the House of Representatives and eventually removed a Senate decision in December 2011.
“Though I am not an implementor because the projects I endorsed were directly funded by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and even if Malacanang admitted in the Senate hearing that not a single centavo passed through legislators I am also open to be investigated,” he added in the statement.
He pointed out that had he known that the project he endorsed would be funded by DAP, he would have not nominated it as he added that he had already withdrew in October 14, 2013 his endorsement for a project worth P10 million when he suspected that it may be funded by DAP.
The Bayan Muna solon, however, said that if Malacañang expects that he will back off from his criticism of DAP and the pork barrel system because of this “attack, they’re wrong.”
The PCIJ has found out that those who got the enormously bigger DAP shares are mostly the bailiwicks or hometowns of legislators and local officials who belong to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) and political parties allied with the LP-led ruling coalition.
And, while the DAP was supposed to speed up of state monies for high-impact projects that have been badly needed by the people, several government agencies admit to pale to poor performance when it comes to implementing DAP projects.
In a number of cases, the “quick-disbursing” projects approved from October 2011 to July 2013 are now locked in delays, had been realigned or covered by continuing appropriation orders from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), or are scheduled for completion by end of 2014 yet.
You can also check the other stories of the PCIJ on the DAP funds by clicking on these links: