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 "demolition work" to harass the opposition's political leaders in the run-up to the May elections.

“The demolition work against UNA leaders has intensified because the LP (Liberal Party) cannot deny what is happening on the ground: big crowds are attending UNA rallies and sorties,while their political
events are nilalangaw [have poor attendance]," said Navotas Rep. Tobias "Toby" Tiangco, UNA's campaign manager. 

He added that LP had become desperate and  tapped its "operators" to destroy UNA and gain mileage.

Tiangco noted the ill timing of the release of the Commission on Audit (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 Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and then Buhay partylist
Representative Rene Velarde went to a questionable non-government organization in 2011.

Enrile is known as among UNA's three kings. The others are Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy's father. Revilla is chairperson of the Lakas party.

"Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Pro Tempore Jingoy Estrada are not candidates. But they are leaders of UNA, and the clear intent is to hit our leaders hoping it would affect UNA candidates. Is this what they call campaigning on issues?" Tiangco said.

"We could just as easily ask Senator Franklin Drilon, their campaign manager, to answer the long-festering questions about his purchase of 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 Marikina Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, Team PNoy spokespersons said UNA leaders should just stick to the issue and answer the COA report.

“I think my friend, Rep. (Toby) Tiangco misses the point. It is not a question of who was behind  in the disclosure to the media of the COA report. The point is whether the report is true or not,” Tanada said.

For his part, Quimbo said, "“It’s totally absurd. I wonder what else they will blame the President’s team for in the coming months. Huwag sana lumindol, baka pati 'yon masisi pa tayo [I hope there will be no earthquake because that, too, could be blamed on us].”

Former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., one of the candidates of Team PNoy, called for a Senate investigation on the matter.

“The COA report that Senate PDAF funds had been given to a bogus NGO should be immediately investigated by the Senate to find out what really happened,” Magsaysay said.

He said a thorough probe was necessary “so that we can plug any loopholes in the funding process.”