Manila, Philippines --- The Commission on Audit (COA) yesterday linked several senators to the questionable disbursements of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, amounting to P1.9 billion given to non-government organizations (NGOs) from 2007 to 2009.
COA Chairperson Maria Gracia M. Pulido-Tan appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing chaired by Sen. Teofisto L. Guingona III held at the Senate Session Hall. Named by her were the following senators –Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy’’ Ejercito Estrada, Gregorio Honasan II, Ramon ‘’Bong’’ Revilla Jr., Ralph G. Recto, and Manuel ‘’Lito’’ Lapid, and former Sen. Edgardo J. Angara – in connection with the alleged questionable disbursements.
This is the first day of the Senate hearing to investigate the pork barrel scam. The senators were earlier named in a COA report presented by Ms. Pulido-Tan a few weeks ago. The audit confirmed many unofficial reports on the misuse of the pork barrel fund, contributing to the massive protest rally in Luneta early this week.
Recto was able to extricate himself from the scandal after confronting COA Director Susan Garcia who told the Guingona committee that there are no documents linking him to the NGOs and the pork barrel scam.
The documents could include requests to implementing agencies for PDAF funds to be funneled to NGOs. Recto emphasized that he had never issued such requests.