OPPOSITION lawmakers on Thursday warned President Benigno Aquino 3rd against blaming his predecessor, former president Gloria Arroyo, for the flak his administration is getting in the release of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds to lawmakers on top of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Reps. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Tobias Tiangco of Navotas and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list were reacting to Aquino’s claim on Wednesday that Arroyo may have misused at least P1 trillion of government funds just to stay in power.
Romualdez, head of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) which is the political party of Arroyo, said the Aquino administration should move forward because it has already been successful in detaining Arroyo for plunder.
“Congresswoman Arroyo can’t always be the shock absorber of this administration whenever it is confronted by controversy.
The buck stops with the President. We are halfway through. Stop the blame game,” Romualdez said.
Tiangco, the secretary-general of the United Nationalist Alliance led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, agreed with Romualdez.
“GMA is non-issue here. If they are envious, they still have two years and eight months to beat the P1 trillion figure. They should just face the DAP,” he said.
Colmenares, on the other hand, said “blaming GMA is definitely a diversion from the DAP issue and is like beating a dead horse”.
Reps. Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez of Akbayan party-list said the DAP issue should not distract the public from punishing pork barrel plunderers.
Gutierrez said that the public should not to be swayed by efforts of some quarters to use the issue to deflect attention on the plunder charges filed against several lawmakers implicated in the pork barrel scam.
“Even as we seriously express our alarm and concern on the DAP, we should not forget that this issue was first raised by Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who together with other lawmakers were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. This is clearly an attempt to distract the public from the immediate objective of exacting accountability for their colossal crimes,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
“The public must not fall for Estrada’s diversionary tactic. We cannot realize our strategic reform goals if the immediate task of punishing these transgressors is sidelined,” he added.
Llanesca T. Panti