‘Even anti-Corona solons received extra PDAF’

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Lawmakers who opposed the impeachment of former chief justice Renato Corona also received their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, which proves that those who signed the impeachment complaint were not bribed, according to some lawmakers.

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Reps. Romero Quimbo of Marikina, Tobias Tiangco of Navotas, Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro and Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara claimed that even those who did not sign the impeachment complaint got their pork allotments.

They issued the statement in reaction to the column of former ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao in The Manila Times that branded the House prosecutors as hypocrites and mercenaries because they received their respective PDAF allocations when Corona was impeached by the House of Representatives.

Quimbo, who served as one of the spokesmen of the prosecution panel during Corona’s impeachment trial in the Senate, said that the lawmakers who did not sign the impeachment complaint also got PDAF releases between November 9, 2011 and December 14, 2011 as DBM records showed: Reps. Marc Douglas Cagas 4th of Davao del Sur got P20 million on December 1, 2011, Amelita Villarosa of Occidental Mindoro received P15 million on December 12, 2011, Hermilando Mandanas of Batangas, P23.7 million released on December 14, 2011, Victor Ortega of La Union, P15 million of his PDAF on November 15, 2011 and Tiangco, P20 million released on November 9, 2011.

Corona was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 12, 2011.

“Obviously, the timing of PDAF release was not selective and biased in favor of the prosecutors as what Mr. Tiglao’s article portrayed. There is absolutely no basis for his accusations. There is no correlation between how we voted on the impeachment and as to when the PDAF funding was released, neither is there any conceivable pattern that can be traced to the impeachment,” Quimbo told The Manila Times.

“The same source of Mr. Tiglao, which is the DBM website containing the PDAF releases for 2011, clearly shows that the last batch of PDAF releases for 2011 for most representatives, whether for or against the Corona impeachment complaint came out late November 2011 and December 2011,” he added.

Quimbo said that only P48.5 million of his PDAF was released in 2011, lower than the P70 million PDAF allotted for each House member every year.

On the other hand, Cagas, Villarosa, Mandanas, Ortega and Tiangco got their P70 million.

He said that in 2012, he got P56.5 million while his colleagues who opposed Corona’s impeachment were released larger PDAF allocations. He said Tiangco got P68.5 million, Cagas P70 million, Villarosa P70 million, Mandanas P68.7 million and Ortega P70 million.

Angara, the former Aurora province representative who served as the spokesman of the prosecution panel, denied that they were bribed.

“Receiving PDAF for my district when I was a congressman has never been a cause for my voting on any impeachment, whether it transpired during the Arroyo or Aquino administration. My vote has always been on the merits. I voted to impeach GMA and still got PDAF, and the same thing happened with the Corona case,” Angara said.

Tiangco agreed with Quimbo and Angara.

“The PDAF [releases]cannot be a bribe. What is a bribe is the extra amount released to lawmakers on top of the P70 million and the P200 million PDAF for House members and Senators, respectively. It is not about the timing of the PDAF release because the DBM takes so much time in releasing the PDAF funding,” Tiangco said.

“For the PDAF to be released in December, the request for it should be made two or three months ahead. The question here is, did you get extra funding on top of PDAF? If so, then that would be a bribe,” he added.

Umali said that PDAF releases weren’t raised during the drafting of the impeachment complaint against Corona.

Corona was impeached and later convicted by the Senate impeachment court for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution for untruthful declaration of assets under his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

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