Noli, Loren, Manny asked to break silence on P 20-B pork barrel for GMA allies in HOR
Leftwing activists belonging to fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday challenged the three leading 2010 presidential contenders Vice President Noli de Castro and Senators Loren Legarda and Manuel Villar to break their silence on the alleged P 20-billion additional pork barrel worked out by allies of Malacañang in the House of Representatives.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. This is a multi-platinum robbery and plunder in broad daylight orchestrated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies in the House of Representatives. De Castro, Legarda, Villar and other presidential wannabes are highly obliged to denounce and take concrete action against the Macapagal-Arroyo raid of public funds,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
According to the survey conducted from Nov.28 to December 1 last year by the Social Weather Station (SWS), VP de Castro got the nod of 31 percent of respondents, followed closely by Senator Legarda with 28 percent and Senator Villar with 27 percent. A far fourth was Senator Panfilo Lacson with 14 percent, followed by ousted President Joseph Estrada with 11 percent and Senator Mar Roxas with 10 percent.
Sen. Lacson on Wednesday said allies of President Arroyo in the House of Representatives have built up a large pork barrel by diverting close to P 20-billion in proposed spending from debt service and agrarian reform to increase allocations for public works, local governments and Congress.
Sen. Roxas confirmed the dubious diversions, stressing further that the diversion of funds was meant to raise funds for Charter Change (Chacha) and the 2010 elections. According to Lacson and Roxas, of the P 1.415 trillion proposed budget for 2009, the House slashed P 14.776 billion from debt service, P 3.5 billion from miscellaneous personnel fund and P 1.3 billion from the Department of Agrarian Reform.
The cutbacks, totaling P 19.576 billion were allocated for the regional infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) amounting to P 8.178 billion, P 3.36 billion in additional funds for local government units and additional P 1.46 billion in pork barrel for Congress, while P 6.578 billion has been inserted in the 2009 budget for other purposes.
The Pamalakaya leader said once the budget was approved carrying those diversions, the DPWH is expected to go full blast with regional infrastructure projects, and it would have the names of President Arroyo’s favored bets in 2010 as sponsors of those projects.
“This is part of the electoral game plan of Malacañang. The Filipino public wants to know how de Castro, Legarda and Villar will deal with this first-rate crime of corruption, discreet political grandstanding and early electioneering activities of the Palace and its electoral fraud machinery,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya said on top of the P 19.576 billion additional pork barrel fund, the P 10-billion poverty reduction program recently announced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was also meant for an early muscle flexing activity of pro-Arroyo politicians. It said the DSWD will give political allies of President Arroyo the opportunity to take part in its dole out activities for early electoral projection in preparation for the 2010 general elections. #