TACLOBAN CITY – The national government has already poured out P536.67 million pork barrel this year to the region’s 14 lawmakers before President Benigno Aquino III proclaimed the abolition of such fund.
Fund releases posted by the Department of Budget and Management in its website show that all the congressmen from the region have already received their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official name of pork barrel.
The three solons with higher allocations were Northern Samar 2nd dist. Rep. Emil Ong (P60.95 million), Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone (P55.72 million), Leyte 5th dist. Rep. Jose Carlos Cari (P55 million).
Receiving P35 million each were Rep. Sergio Apostol (Leyte 2nd), Rep. Rogelio Espina (Biliran), Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte 4th), Rep. Roger Mercado (Southern Leyte), Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo (An Waray), Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte 1st), Rep. Andres Salvacion (Leyte 3rd), Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento (Samar 1st) and Rep. Milagrosa Tan (Samar 2nd) and erstwhile Rep.Raul Daza of Northern Samar’s first district.
Even former Reps. Raul Daza of Northern Samar(first district) and Florencio Noel of the An Waray party-list, who received the lowest pork barrel at P15 million, were able to got hold of their own share.
Both Daza and Noel were defeated during the May 13, 2013 elections. Daza sought for a reelection while Noel ran for mayor of Tacloban.
The DBM has no record of releases for congressmen that started their first terms in the 16th congress like Northern Samar 1st dist. Rep. Harlin Abayon and Southern Leyte Rep. Damian Mercado.
Records show that the earliest PDAF release was in January 21 and the latest was in August 2. These funds were downloaded to hospitals, national government agencies and local government units.
The 2013 PDAF was used mainly for medical assistance and infrastructure projects.
President Aquino has ordered the abolition of PDAF last week amid the P10 billion pork barrel scam allegedly initiated by Jean Lim Napoles who siphoned the funds through fake non-government organizations. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)