Despite the plunder charges filed by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) against President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) retorted that the charge of alleged misuse of the P125-million Malampaya fund is only a product of “hyperactive imagination.”
“The charges that the KMP have yet again leveled against President Aquino and Secretary Abad can only be the product of either shoddy research or a hyperactive imagination,” the DBM said in a statement.
This was in defense of the president and budget secretary, as well as executives of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), from the KMP plunder charges, claiming that the Malampaya funds were distributed to fake non-government organizations and that it was a conspiracy between the DBM and DAR.
The agency further defended the government executives, saying that the Malampaya releases were made in 2009, administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“It would be another year before President Aquino would assume leadership of the country, and another year before Secretary Abad would helm the budget department,” the DBM said.
Abad said that the administration encourage the engagement of the people in demanding accountability from government officials, but pointed out that KMP’s claims were “weakly supported.”
“To date, their energies have been devoted entirely towards discrediting the current administration, all with little to no regard for the truth or the interests of the farmers they claim to represent. It’s increasingly obvious to us that KMP will do most anything to make themselves heard—even if their arguments are no longer based on fact—if only to further their own agenda,” the budget chief said.
“I cannot emphasize enough the valuable role that various groups and people’s organizations have played in our good governance campaign. We thus urge the KMP to make good use of their influence and reach as a militant farmers’ group by resorting to fruitful action that will actually benefit the communities around them,” Abad added.
In the statement along with a complementary record of the Malampaya releases from 2004 to 2013, the DBM said that a total of P900 million release to DAR was made on November 19, 2009 “support services to the Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs), particularly for recovery projects/programs in the wake of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.”
The department pointed out that all Aquino releases from the funds were directed to energy or energy-related projects, as well as maintaining energy resource.
“Under this administration, the DBM has helped ensure that Malampaya funds are used exactly for their mandated purpose. If fund misuse is indeed suspected in the utilization of Malampaya Funds in 2009, we join the citizens in demanding accountability from all responsible parties,” the DBM Information Unit head Charisse Paderna said.
“Meanwhile, however, we suggest that the KMP first get the facts straight before filing other poorly supported complaints in the Office of the Ombudsman,” Paderna added. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO