Friday, September 26, 2014
Let Abad Answer DAP Said By: PNoy
President Aquino on Tuesday (US time) said Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad should answer reports that members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) cornered most of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
“Perhaps, I think the question should be better directed to Secretary Abad who would know all of the details and would have the details on hand,” Aquino said, when asked to comment on the disclosure of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesman Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco that 10 members of the LP headed the list of recipients of millions of pesos worth of funds released via the DAP.
The top 10 DAP recipients, according to Tiangco, are: former Rep. Joseph Abaya, now the acting LP president (P408 million); Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. (P297.4 million); Majority Floor Leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II (P263 million); former Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi (P217.8 million); former Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel (P179.5 million); Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad (P176.6 million); former Rep. Edgar San Luis (P160.2 million); former Rep. Tomas Osmeña (P124.1 million); former Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada (P120.5 million); and Rep. Nelson Collantes (P110 million).
Tiangco told reporters in Manila that the DAP list was based on uploaded information from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) website.
Meanwhile, the President denied allegations that his allies have been spared by his administration’s campaign against corruption.
He cited the cases of former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Grace Padaca and former Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Nereus Acosta as proof that everyone is covered by the anti-graft drive.
During the World Leaders Forum in Columbia University Aquino, Liwayway Arce, a student from the Philippines, asked him if his anti-corruption slogan also applies to everybody under the Philippine flag, including his friends.
Arce, a Master of Law student who claimed to have voted for Aquino because of his “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) slogan, raised the question, noting that “topmost or highest officials in government, including Cabinet members have been implicated in issues questioning their integrity.”
Aquino was quick to point out that his predecessor – former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – is in jail as well as three incumbent senators, referring to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong Revilla Jr.
“Their cohorts in the pork barrel scam are also in jail, in detention awaiting trial,” Aquino added.
Apparently dissatisfied with the President’s response, Arce shot back: “Anyone form the Liberal Party, Mr. President?”
That was the time, Aquino named Padaca and Acosta.
“There are two that have been accused that have posted bail because they were not charged with plunder previously. Grace Padaca and Nereus Acosta come to mind.”
“Perhaps, you should look at other websites besides the ones you have been watching,” Aquino added.
Meanwhile, President Aquino got another heckling Tuesday during his speaking engagement at the Columbia University.
But the President said he has gotten used to dealing with hecklers that he wanted to answer their grievances.
“Sanay naman na tayo doon (I’m used to that already),” Aquino told Manila-based reporters covering his US trip. He said he wants to listen to what the hecklers have to say.
At a press briefing at the Omni Berkshire Hotel, which followed his attendance at the World Leaders Forum in Columbia University, Aquino said he had wanted to talk to the hecklers.
“Can I finish answering the question,” Aquino told one of the hecklers who took turns on interrupting his talk.
After the hecklers were escorted out of the Low Memorial Library in Columbia University where the forum was held, they were seen joining a group of protesters apparently affiliated with Gabriela and Bayan based on their protest placards.
They kept on shouting: “No justice, no peace! Stop the killings in the Philippines.”
Last Monday, Aquino was also heckled at the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He experienced the same last week in France.
In Harvard, Aquino calmly answered back to a heckler who asked him why would his government buy arms knowing that it does not create jobs nor does it expand the economy of the Philippines.
Also this year in Naga City, Aquino was also heckled in the middle of his Independence Day speech.
But Aquino said he was taught by his father, the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., that in a democracy one should be willing to listen to the ideas of others to lead to a “synthesis.”
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