MANILA, Philippines – The militant Anakpawis Party-list called for vigilance against an impeding national budget that would again essentially serve as “pork barrel” for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his allies as Malacanang recently approved an unprecedented amount of P3.002 trillion for next year’s budget. The group said that Aquino has never acknowledged responsibility for his flawed and felonous interpretation of “savings” that has been used as justification for the implementation of the multi-billion peso Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.
“Napakalaking budget ang in-approve ni Aquino para sa 2016, ngunit walang garantiya na hindi ito magsisilbing sarili niyang pork barrel at ng kanyang ka-alyado, laluna na eleksyon sa susunod na taon” (Aqui-no has approved a huge budget for 2016, but there is no guarantee that it would not serve as his own and his allies’ pork barrel, especially that the national election season is just around the corner), Anakpawis Representative Fernando “Ka Pan-do” Hicap said in a statement.
Anakpawis particularly noted the case of known Aquino ally and Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Prospero Alcala who has consistently been implicated in varous issues of fund mishandling in the last four years. The Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2013 audit report has in effect cited irregularities in the finances of the DA given an unreliabe balance of P15.2 billion. A year earlier, COA took notice of the department’s P16.9 billion balance. At the height of the pork barrel issue in 2013, Alcala found himself under fire in relation to the DA’s anomalous release of P73.7 million of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to three dubious non-government organizations (NGOs). These NGOs shared the same set of incorporators among them and had a balance of more than P30 million in 2012.
“Taun-taon na lang may mga kuwestyonableng paggastos ang ahensya ni Alcala pero hindi siya kinakasuhan at ipinagtanggol pa siya ni Aquino, ang laking pondo ang nasa kanyang kontrol pero kung titingnan ang mga magsa-saka sa mga probinsya wala namang natatanggap na serbisyo,” (Every year, Alcala’s questionable use of public funds is being exposed but Aquino has always been in his defense; he controls a big budget but farmers in the provinces obviously do not receive any form of help), Hicap said.
Anakpawis urged taxpayers to closely monitor the budget deliberations at the House of Representatives after Aquino’s state of the nation address (SONA) late July.