SENATOR Pia Cayetano on Tuesday denied allotting P10 million from her supposed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and insisted that she is not even aware of the controversial disbursement program, further raising question on Malacañang’s true intent behind its creation.
It was DOST secretary Mario Montejo who claimed that Cayetano and former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson have endorsed the agency as recipient of their DAP fund amounting to P40 billion on 2011.
Montejo disclosed that that the agency received a total of P2 billion from DAP in 2011 which they use in the creation of Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard) and the development of complementary baby food as part of the effort to fight malnutrition.
“I did not request nor did I authorize the release of funds under the DAP. I don’t even know that term,” Cayetano said in a statement.
Cayetano, who is currently in Geneva attending the 129th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), explained that the said amount could have been based on her proposed amendments during the deliberation of the 2012 General Appropriations Bill.
According to her in the amendments were coursed through then Senate Finance Committee Chairman Franklin Drilon in a letter dated November 22, 2011.
In fact she said, her office even submitted in writing the breakdown of the P10 million to the DOTC which includes: P2 million for training and scholarships; P1 million for the purchase of Starbooks facilities under the Science and Technology Information Institute; and P7 million for financial assistance for Research and Development.
“I proposed these amendments to support various DOST programs in line with my belief that we need to continuously innovate and invest in Science and Technology in order for our country to be more competitive and progressive,” she added.
Cayetano further disclosed that it was the DOST, not her who realigned the said amount to the ‘Malnutrition Reduction Program’ of the FNRI and it was done without her knowledge.
The senator said that her office tried to asked the DOST and the Department of Budget and Management to revert the funds to their original intention as the realignment was undertaken without her prior approval.
But instead of heeding the call of the senator, the DBM in a letter dated March 12, 2012 informed Cayetano that it was the DOST’s decision to realign the P10 million under DAP for Fiscal Year 2011.
“I could not have possibly authorized nor realigned funds through DAP, a funding entity whose mechanisms were unknown to me until it became the subject of controversy in recent news,” she added.
Lacson for his part said that there was no way he could have allotted any amount to DOST especially coming from his supposed DAP considering that he is not even availing his priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
He added that if there ever was some sort of additional allocation to DOST, it could have been part of an amendment he introduced during the budget deliberation in pleanary. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA