MANILA (Mabuhay) – House Speaker Sonny Belmonte will release the names of congressmen who received projects funded from the unconstitutional disbursement acceleration program.
Belmonte said he is aware that many members of the House have projects funded by the DAP. He said he is more than willing to release the list of DAP beneficiaries among House members once it becomes available.
“We must not always jump to conclusions and dub something as negative or ill-intentioned without the facts,” the Speaker said.
“I have always asked my colleagues in the House to account for their projects and the funding afforded them for these. Each of us is responsible to our constituents and to the Filipino people and should be open to scrutiny in terms of where these public funds are utilized.”
Belmonte is responding to a report about 800 Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) allegedly received by legislators.
The Speaker explained that many congressmen tend to break up whatever they get into many smaller projects to spread around their districts, with the intent of affording more services and benefits to a larger number of their constituents.
He said these SAROs were released to lawmakers in support of their constituencies and following what was then a regular process in the release of funds by the Department of Budget and Management prior to the Supreme Court declaring the DAP unconstitutional.
Belmonte also expressed confidence none of these SAROs ended up with Janet Lim-Napoles or other questionable NGOs.
The DBM Public Information Unit (PIU) earlier said legislators who received DAP allocations did not get cash.
“Instead, what lawmakers only do is nominate projects from a list of priorities that will benefit their constituents or districts. The funds for these projects are then released to and implemented by national agencies,” the DBM-PIU said.
The DBM is preparing a more detailed list of projects funded through the DAP. The new list will distinguish legislator-backed projects from those housed under government departments and agencies, local government units, and government-owned or –controlled corporations.
“Most of the funds released through DAP were in fact made to National Government departments. After all, we were looking at accelerating government disbursements, and we could do that by supporting fast-moving and high-impact projects, many of which are under national agencies. The list we will soon be releasing will show just that,” Budget Secretary Butch Abad said. (MNS)