Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares today said that there is an obvious pattern emerging from what Malacanang is doing with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and is using it as a clearing house for its presidential pork.
“This was what happened with the P900 million Malampaya funds in 2009 during the time of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and again happened in 2011 under Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III when Malacanang tried to pass P475 million through the DAR even without any request from the department,” said the senior deputy minority leader.
”The P900 Million was transferred by Pres. Arroyo to DAR even if no one requested for the said amount, which ultimately ended up in ghost beneficiaries. The DAR Secretary admitted during the plenary deliberation of their 2014 budget that six SAROs totaling P 475 Million were channeled thru DAR in 2011 even if DAR did not ask for it, in order to fund supposed projects of senators. The DAR also admitted that they did not know where it came from except that it was approved by Pres. Aquino in December 6, 2011. Since DAR has a big budget and in no need of additional funds, the DAR returned it to Malacanang,” the progressive solon said.
“This is a concrete danger of having the president control enormous lump sums because he can disburse so much money that is not even requested by an agency. This practice is a healthy breeding ground for corruption and is a huge waste of tax payers’ money. Pork is also misuse of public funds because, as in this example, it allocated huge funds to an agency which did not even need it,” he stressed.
“It is good that the DAR returned the P475 million but we are not sure if Malacanang just coursed this moneys thru other departments. The evil of the pork barrel system is as clear as day and this should be stopped now before more funds of the people are usurped by unscrupulous politician.,” ended Rep. Colmenares.