• San Juan, Makati return idle PDAF

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    San Juan and Makati city mayors have turned over unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel totaling P82.1 million to the Bureau of Treasury (BOT), state auditors said.

    Based on annual audit reports for 2013 released by the Commission on Audit (COA) on Thursday, Makati City’s local government under Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. completed the return of P54.8 million to the BOT in June with an Official Receipt No. 4704994 submitted to COA.

    San Juan City under Mayor Guia Gomez, meanwhile, returned P27.4 million unused PDAF last May. A copy of Landbank Check No. 156981 payable to the BOT was submitted to COA.

    Auditors noted that P881,220 in pork barrel funds was retained by the city because these were payments for beneficiaries whose claims were already approved although some documents are still being processed.

    The cities returned the funds in compliance with a November 2013 Supreme Court (SC) ruling that declared a permanent injunction against spending leftover PDAF that has not been obligated or committed to any valid project.

    After the ruling, COA reminded local government units though a memorandum issued in December 2013 that the SC barred further disbursement of unused pork barrel funds.

    The Makati City audit report did not provide names of legislators who released part of their pork barrel funds to the city.

    Meanwhile, the report on San Juan City showed it received PDAF from 2010 to 2013.

    Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, San Juan City Mayor Gomez’s son, gave the largest sum to the city with P15.6 million between 2010 and 2012. He is followed by his half-brother, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada with P3.2 million.

    Former representative Raymond Palatino of Kabataan party-list had idle pork barrel allocation in San Juan City worth P2.5 million from 2011.

    The city also had unused funds worth P1.6 million from Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, its lone representative.

    Other lawmakers who gave smaller amounts were former senator Loi Estrada, Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

    Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada face plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly amassing millions in kickbacks by pouring their pork barrel funds into bogus projects.

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