Team PNoy, UNA trade barbs over opposition leaders' alleged PDAF misuse
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- Team PNoy and United Nationalist Alliance spokespersons on Thursday traded barbs over audit reports linking UNA leaders to misuse of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
UNA accused the administration ticket of resorting to "demolitionÂ work" to harass the opposition's political leaders in the run-up to the MayÂ elections.
âThe demolition work against UNA leaders has intensified because theÂ LP (Liberal Party) cannot deny what is happening on the ground: bigÂ crowds are attending UNA rallies and sorties,while their political
events are nilalangaw [have poor attendance]," said Navotas Rep. Tobias "Toby" Tiangco, UNA'sÂ campaign manager.Â
He added that LP had become desperate and Â tapped its "operators" to destroy UNA and gain mileage.
Tiangco noted the ill timing of the release of the Commission on AuditÂ (COA) report, saying this was obviously done for political reasons.
According to the COA report, some P195 million in PDAF of Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate president pro tempore JinggoyÂ Estrada, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and then Buhay partylist
Representative Rene Velarde went to a questionable non-governmentÂ organization in 2011.
Enrile is known as among UNA's three kings. The others are ViceÂ President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy'sÂ father. Revilla is chairperson of the Lakas party.
"Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Pro Tempore JingoyÂ Estrada are not candidates. But they are leaders of UNA, and the clearÂ intent is to hit our leaders hoping it would affect UNA candidates. IsÂ this what they call campaigning on issues?" Tiangco said.
"We could just as easily ask Senator Franklin Drilon, their campaignÂ manager, to answer the long-festering questions about his purchase ofÂ a property in Forbes Park, but we won't because he is not a
candidate," he added.
Missing the point?
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III and MarikinaÂ Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, Team PNoy spokespersons saidÂ UNA leaders should just stick to the issue and answer the COA report.
âI think my friend, Rep. (Toby) Tiangco misses the point. It is not aÂ question of who was behind Â in the disclosure to the media of the COAÂ report. The point is whether the report is true or not,â Tanada said.
For his part, Quimbo said, "âItâs totally absurd. I wonder what elseÂ they will blame the Presidentâs team for in the coming months. HuwagÂ sana lumindol, baka pati 'yon masisi pa tayo [I hope there will be no earthquake because that, too, could be blamed on us].â
Former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., one of the candidates of TeamÂ PNoy, called for a Senate investigation on the matter.
âThe COA report that Senate PDAF funds had been given to a bogus NGOÂ should be immediately investigated by the Senate to find out whatÂ really happened,â Magsaysay said.
He said a thorough probe was necessary âso that we canÂ plug any loopholes in the funding process.â