State auditors have ordered the city government of Manila to return P58.68 million in unspent Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or pork barrel funds to the national treasury.
In a 2014 audit report by the Commission on Audit (COA), the auditors said that the sum has not been returned to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) for reversion to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund of the national government.
“The City Government of Manila received PDAF from 27 legislators for healthcare, medical assistance, education, livelihood, and procurement of goods and supplies from various legislators in 2013 and prior years. We noted that these funds have not been fully utilized with an aggregate balance totaling P58,682,850.17 as of December 31, 2014,” they said.
In November 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that PDAF or the pork barrel allocation of lawmakers is unconstitutional.
“In view of the foregoing, as the above PDAF balances in the total amount of P58,682,850.17 can no longer be utilized by the City of Manila, we recommended the immediate return thereof to the Bureau of Treasury for reversion to the general fund of the national government,” the auditors said.
The auditors said a P9.6-million refund was made to the BTr for the unused balance of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under Official Receipt No. 8201017 dated September 18, 2014 based on the records of the City Treasurer’s Office.
DAP, a stimulus package under the Aquino administration which aimed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth, was also declared unconstitutional by the SC in July 2014.