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MANILA, Philippines - Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Friday said the govenrment already released the pork barrel of opposition congressmen.
"We have no bias towards or against any member of the House of Representatives, whether members of the majority or the minority. The administration has the welfare of their constituents in mind," Abad said.
Citing Department of Budget and Management (DBM) records, Abad saidthe P70 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez for 2011 had beenfully released.
"The same holds true for former Minority Leader Rep. Edcel Lagman, Rep. Ma. Amelita Villarosa, and Rep. Arthur Yap. Even former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received the PDAF allocation for the 2nd district of Pampanga," Abad said.
Rep. Milagros "Mitos" Magsasay of the first district of Zambales however said she and three other representatives belonging to the minority bloc have yet to receive their respective PDAF allocation for 2011. The three others are Reps Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo, Juan Miguel Arroyo of Ang Galing Pinoy Party-list, and Diosdado Arroyo of Camarines Sur.
"For obvious reasons, congressmen belonging to the minority bloc who have received their PDAFs are not as hard-hitting as me when it comes to criticizing this administration," Magsaysay said.
"While that of the two congressmen whose PDAF have likewise been withheld are the children of Cong. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. With regard to Cong. Syjuco, it's also more of local politics," Magsaysay said.
She said the pork barrel of the late Negros Occidental Congressman Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo was released only after his death.
"We cannot be faulted for not complying with the processes required by the DBM for the release of our respective PDAFs. We are not even first timers as congressmen, we are very much familiar with the requisites and we are compliant. The problem is, they would accept our proposals without asking for any revisions whatsoever, but still failed to release our PDAFs," Magsaysay said.
Abad however countered that congressmen belonging to the Liberal Party failed to get a preferential treatment with regard to the release of their PDAFs.
"Even lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas has not had his full PDAF allocation released, having received only P53.7 million for 2011," Abad said.
Congressmen who have not received their PDAFs for last year have until December 31 of this year before such funding reverts to the general fund of the government.