MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Sergio Osmeña III on Wednesday became the latest senator to defend their receipt of funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) following the ouster of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Osmeña, an administration ally, said there was nothing unusual with the Department of Budget and Management’s release of P50 million to senators after the Senate impeachment court convicted Corona.
“It was not the first time na mayroong extra [fund] na ibinigay sa amin,” Osmeña said, adding DAP “is not unusual in the sense that something extra aside from the P200 million PDAF was offered to [us].”
He was referring to the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel, that is annually given to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Osmeña clarified that funds from DAP were not transferred directly to senators’ bank accounts. He said they were only given the right to identify the projects that will be funded by the allocation from the controversial program.
The DAP came under fire after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed that several senators received P50 million to P100 million after the the Senate impeachment court voted to convict Corona. Certain acts under the program were recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Aside from Osmeña, other senators who received DAP funds were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, Juan Ponce Enrile, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto III, Sergio Osmena, Gringo Honasan, Pia Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Koko Pimentel, TG Guingona and Francis Pangilinan.
Osmeña said he would not have accepted his DAP allocation if he knew Malacañang gave it as a bribe for convicting Corona.
“This happened six months after the conviction was made. nagbotohan kami noong May pero natanggap namin ito noong December. I would have turned it down if it was given during the trial,” he said.
Malacañang has defended DAP as fund releases from realigned government savings that were intended to boost the economy.
The Palace said it will be accounting for the funds that went to DAP after it has exhausted all legal remedies concerning the Supreme Court ruling. (MNS)