COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan on Tuesday belied allegations that she is conniving with some administration lawmakers on the use and disposal of the outlawed Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
In a statement, Licuanan stressed that when the Supreme Court (SC) issued its decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund in November 2013, “the function of implementing government programs and projects for which funds have been duly allocated and approved by the legislature was specifically assigned to agencies of the executive department, among them CHED.”
It was learned that CHED was allotted P4.1 billion in supplemental fund in 2014 for scholarships and grants for deserving students.
Licuanan said the commission on March 10, 2014 prepared guidelines for the use of these funds and subjected them to internal consultations with various education stakeholders that included Representatives of Congress.
“The lawmakers were given the opportunity to recommend their beneficiaries to CHED but subject to these guidelines,” she said.
“It was also clarified that the GAA 2014 obligates the agency to ensure that existing beneficiaries should not be disenfranchised, but will continue to receive assistance provided they meet the requirements under the guidelines,” she added.
She was reacting to the claims of Rep. Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teaches (ACT) party-list that recorded conversations indicated that she connived with the legislators by appropriating millions of pesos of the CHED money to their chosen beneficiaries.
Licuanan decried as baseless Tinio’s assertion that she and other government officials are perpetuating in secret the now unconstitutional PDAF to gain favor from lawmakers so as not to impeach President Aquino.