Bravo, Rep. Toby Tiangco!

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Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby”  Tiangco performed a great service Wednesday when he held his ground for the submission by Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad of the detailed use of the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

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People who want accountability and transparency in government support Tiangco’s efforts.  Billions of pesos have been spent for DAP but the people, the supposed “bosses” of the administration, are still in the  dark on this issue. It’s to the credit of Tiangco that he wouldn’t settle for a wishy-washy submission of DAP details from Abad. He knows that the people wouldn’t want half-truths.

Full details would have validated the administration’s claims that the DAP was conceived to funnel funds from slow-moving projects to the more urgent ones needed for faster economic development. These would have proved that DAP is very different from the unconstitutional pork barrel.

Strangely, Abad has been taking his sweet time in detailing who availed themselves of the DAP, for what projects, and the status of the projects. He promised to give these details last July during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance headed by Sen. Chiz Escudero.

The Senate panel never pressed Abad to make good his promise.  It didn’t even give a specific date on when should Abad submit the needed data.

When  the Senate  yellow ribbon committee wanted details on how pork was used, Abad was quick to come out with years-old record of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

However, Abad has had difficult time giving details on the use of the more recent DAP under the Aquino administration. In this cyber age, that would have taken minimal effort—unless Abad and the administration are reluctant to do so.

Monday evening, at the opening plenary debates at the House on the proposed 2015 budget, Tiangco elicited a commitment from Abad to submit Wednesday a complete list of DAP projects with their corresponding proponents from the House and the Senate. Abad submitted the list Wednesday before the agreed 8 pm deadline but Tiangco considered it unacceptable for lacking so many details.

When 8pm came without the complete details, Tiangco questioned the quorum. Rather than adjourn, and contrary to rules that give questions on quorum of higher priority, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd moved to merely suspend the session until the next morning. Thursday morning came with no complete list yet and Tiangco reiterated his question on the presence of a quorum, forcing the immediate adjournment of the session.

Gonzales obviously did not share Tiangco’s insistence on the full disclosure of the DAP details. He also found nothing wrong in the House’s failure to muster a quorum for the budget debates. What he found wrong was Tiangco’s questioning the presence of a quorum. To him, it doesn’t matter if only a handful are present to discuss what’s supposed to be the most important measure to be passed by Congress in any given year. It doesn’t even matter to him that the DAP had watered down Congress’s power of the purse. What matters to him is the immediate passage of the 2015 budget with or without quorum, with or without Abad’s compliance of a commitment on the DAP made in his presence.

I hope Tiangco will stand his ground and demand Abad’s full compliance with his commitment on the DAP. President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, loves to quote the biblical saying “Truth Shall Set You Free.” The President, if he’s really earnest, should order Abad to comply pronto so the truth shall set all of us free. Tiangco might lose his parliamentary leverage should there be a quorum on Monday but he’ll never lose his moral high ground on the DAP.

Oh yes, Tiangco is also the spokesman of the United Nationalist Alliance headed by the beleaguered Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Last Thursday, the Veep said that the construction of the Makati City Hall building 2 was not overpriced at P69,549 per square meter. (His critics claim it’s P84,000 square meter.)

Binay made an emotional defense but he failed to forward his case when he compared the Makati building cost to the P74,751 per square meter of the Batasang Pambansa Annex Building  and the P68,140 per square meter of the two-story Iloilo Convention Center.

There’s no point of comparison with those government buildings. The Makati building has many floors for parking, which means open floors, no divisions or partitions and no tiles. The absence of these features should lower the building cost. I still believe that the true evidence on whether there’s overpricing or not is the building itself. Is it world-class, green, to be worth the P2.2 billion spent for its construction?

efrendanao2003@yahoo.com

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16 Comments

  1. alfonso alag jr on

    Si rep tiangco ang dapat tumakbo nang president hindi si Binay na magaling sa kickback. Kung kampihan siya ni Toby harboring na iyon, kaya don’t say anytjing Toby.

  2. A quorum on Monday (that will be tomorrow) will kill the efforts of Rep Tiangco and he knows this and will accept it. But until then, he will do what is necessary. Having a quorum is the only way this administration will avoid producing the requested information. I am sure Belmonte and Gonzales will move heaven and earth to convince their minions to attend the budget deliberations and pass it with not much of scrutiny.

  3. Some quarters may claim against his political motives but it is clear as water that the intended result of what he is doing is for the benefit of th people. Here is a guy that have the qualities of a national leader, an emerging strong leader.

  4. Mabuhay ka Congressman Tiangco. Go on, the people are behind you. Mabuhay ang Manila times for all these expose’. Mabuti nalang mayron ang Manila Times, kung hindi lahat ng News Papers ay kinakalbo na kapariho ni aBAD at ang Presidente niyang matalik. Hyatt 10!

  5. If Abad and Aquino have nothing to hide, why do they persist in keeping the details of the DAP dibursements secret?

    What will make Abad do to release those papers? Is there any law to compel him to do what he promised to do -release the details. There is so much to be desired in our system of government.

    • that’s why the FOI, a campaign promise of the bs aquino, has been relegated to the back burner because this administration has so much “skeleton in the closet” that it wouldn’t want the people to know…speaking of transparency! all these are just propaganda hatched by the bs aquino’s propaganda machine…

  6. Something fishy on Abad’s demeanor. He wanted to delay the full disclosure on DAP until such time the citizenry forgets the issue. Time heals all wounds so to speak. Kudos to columnist Danao for keeping us aware of the issue. On Binay’s dilemma, he should face the corruption issue squarely to have our votes…from the looks of it, the Makati City Hall Parking Building II is neither world class nor green…tsk tsk tsk…indeed power corrupts…absolute power corrupts absolutely…as saying goes…

  7. muriel magtanggol on

    Ihanda na ang basurahang pagtatapunan diyan kay Abad pag hindi pa rin siya naglabas nang listahang yan…gayahin ang Ukraine. O kaya, ilublob yan sa baha…diba, ginawa nilang savings nila ni Noynoy yung para sa flood control? Ayan….itali yang dalawang yan at gawing balsa sa baha!

  8. i feel sorry for neptali gonzales 2nd for missing the more important things to settle… he is a disgrace to his fathers namesake & legacy, the late senator neptali gonzales.

  9. Rep. Toby Tiangco. Congratulations for keeping your stand. There are only miniscule numbers of politicians who have a high moral integrity. Filipinos want the truth, nothing but the truth. Abad and PNoy must reveal the truth, not the sanitized list.

  10. crisostomo ibarra on

    mr danao how about you making a comment about vp binay and member of his family regarding their trials aND TRIBULATIONS FOR A CHANGE..ALMOST ALL OF YOUR COLUMNS LATELY IS FLOGGING THE ADMINISTRATION OF MR AQUINO….

  11. We can only count in our few fingers who in reality are the true oppositionist in the Chamber of Thieves. One real oppositionists are Tiangco, Ridon, Comenares, Romualdez and few more. Goes to show that there are lots of un-circumcised human beings in the role of senathieves and representhathieves. They call them “pisot” in the Visayan dialect which also relates to a pseudo name of a coward. Men like Boyet Gonzales, Neil Tupas and key yellows in the lower chamber are “pisot.”

  12. As we hope Rep. Tiango will, by all means, stand on his ground, I also hope that columnists like Mr. Danao, will stand on their grounds. At these times when Malacanang and members of congress are doing a big disservice to the people, we need everyone to be vigilant. The people need to know what is going on in the government today, tomorrow and always. We all need reminders, lest, we all end up regretting when things get out of hand. This sitting president’s government is trying to show that things are rosy when they are not; the government programs are a success when they are not; and, that the people are in a better place to live when they are not. Lies may fly, but not for long. To paraphrase, I’d to reiterate, if I may, that “knowing the truth shall make us free”.