Sen. Francis Escudero never lifted a finger to abolish the discretion-driven Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that became a gateway for corruption, Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo said Sunday.
Robredo quizzed Escudero after the latter trumpeted that he was in favor of removing discretion in government funds to eradicate corruption.
PDAF used to be the discretionary fund of lawmakers, a fund from which lawmakers can draw for soft projects (scholarships and medical assistance) and hard projects (farm-to-market roads and bridges).
The Supreme Court, however, declared PDAF illegal in November 2013 after the P10 billion PDAF scam exposé where the lawmakers siphoned off kickbacks from bogus implementing agencies of their projects.
“Napakatagal niya pong Congressman, ano po ang ginawa niya para maalis ang discretion na iyon?[He was a Congressman for so long, what has he done to scrap that discretion?]” Robredo said, alluding to Escudero’s nine years as a Sorsogon Representative and a Senator for nine years and counting.
A member of the House of Representatives used to receive P70 million worth of PDAF annually, while a Senator received P200 million PDAF annually.
Escudero responded by claiming that he never received the PDAF due him during the Arroyo administration (2001 to 2010) because he was from the opposition.
“For nine years, I never received my PDAF, it was never released to me under President Arroyo,” Escudero countered.