MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago admitted she received funds from the Department of Budget and Management for her projects but denied she is aware those were coming from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Santiago’s statement follows DBM’s recent release of the DAP-list identifying lawmakers to whom the outlawed government stimulus fund was supposedly distributed. Santiago was named in the list as one of the 19 senator-recipients.
The senator said she was surprised in her inclusion since when her office received the funds, it was not identified as part of DAP. She added if indeed DAP was released in her name, it could have been only coursed through her office coming from the Senate secretariat and she never asked for it.
And since the notice of release did come from the office of the Senate secretariat, Santiago said it is presumed there is regularity in the discharge of its function.
According to Santiago, she did not ask whether the funds came from PDAF or DAP, but gave assurance all disbursements made by her office from the funds were properly accounted for as the law requires.
She said she may have assigned the funds to the usual recipients of her PDAF like the University of the Philippines (UP), the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), other hospitals and local government units (LGUs), but never to a fake non-governmental organization (NGOs).
The Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers became the subject of a widespread public outrage in 2013 after it was exposed as being misused by some senators and congressmen by diverting them to bogus NGOs in exchange for kickbacks. The practice was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court late last year.
DAP was similarly declared partially illegal by the High Court just recently despite protest from the executive department. (Click here to read more)