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Solon questions P6.5B clerical error.

A congressman described as ridiculous the claim of the Department of Budget and Management that the reported P6.5 billion augmentation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for some legislators under the Disbursement Acceleration Program in 2011 was just a clerical error.

"A P6.5-billion clerical error? With the President's signature and approval to boot? Is DBM really this slapdash in preparing and releasing budget documents?" asked Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

"It is no wonder that fake SAROs proliferate and go undetected under the current administration," he added.

Ridon said the claim of clerical error presented by Secretary Florencio Abad in explaining the DBM documents that authorized "augmentation" of the PDAF from the 2011 DAP is quite ludicrous.

Earlier, the young solon revealed that DBM documents have revealed that certain lawmakers received DAP in addition to their PDAF as "augmentation."

In a Memorandum for the President dated October 12, 2011 obtained by Kabataan Partylist, DBM identified P72.11 billion in DAP funds, of which P70.895 billion was allotted to 34 projects. Item No. 33 in the table titled "Projects in the Disbursement Acceleration Program" indicated P6.5 billion for "various other local projects."

In the annex affixed to the memorandum, the item was further elaborated as constituting funds for "PDAF augmentation."

The memorandum bears the seal and signature of President Benigno Aquino III and marked as "approved" on October 12, 2011.

"Last year, DBM claimed that the extra pork allocated for several legislators indicated in the COA report on PDAF released last year was just a clerical error. Now, Secretary Abad is again claiming that the P6.5 billion used for PDAF augmentation is just another mistake. Is this government really this bad at keeping records on public funds?" Ridon asked.

"Now that the issue of fake SAROs has also surfaced, we cannot solely trust these release documents. We ask DBM to release to the public all documents pertinent to DAP, including memos for the President. The public deserves a better explanation. Billions of pesos cannot just be brushed aside as a minor clerical error," Ridon said.


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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Feb 19, 2014
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