MANILA, July 15 (Mabuhay) — Commission on Audit chairperson Grace Pulido Tan should also be held accountable for the Disbursement Acceleration Program for allegedly failing to audit it and utilizing the same, detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada said Tuesday.
“Sa aking pananaw, dapat managot si Chairwoman Grace Pulido Tan ng COA because DAP has been in existence since 2011 or 2012, dapat in-audit ng COA yung DAP,” Estrada said in an interview with reporters after the hearing on his bail petition at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division.
Estrada wore a pink barong and is now sporting a moustache and beard when he attended the hearing. With him during the hearing were his father, former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada; mother, former Senator Dr. Loi Ejercito; wife Precy; and brother Jude.
He said he found out during the last budget hearing that COA received DAP funds and it was used to buy vehicles for the agency.
“When I was interpellating the chairperson of the COA, I asked her if her agency received DAP funds and she answered in [the] affirmative. Tinanong ko sa kanya kung anong ginamit niya sa pera, pinambili daw nila ng mga kotse. E, that is not pump-priming the economy. Hindi yun ang purpose ng DAP,” Estrada said.
He added that when he asked Tan why COA did not audit the DAP, the latter did not give an answer.
“Tinanong ko sa kanya kung bakit hindi nila ino-audit yung DAP, wala siyang maisagot,” said Estrada.
Last year when the pork barrel scam was exposed, COA conducted and released its special audit on Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations which showed that some lawmakers allegedly diverted their funds to non-government organizations linked with Janet Lim Napoles.
Among those lawmakers named in the special audit were Estrada, Senators Ramon “Bong’ Revilla Jr and Juan Ponce Enrile who are now facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the scam.
Estrada said some people are joking that he should be under the Witness Protection Program now for being the whistleblower of the DAP.
d,” he said.
It was Estrada who first questioned the extra allocation given to senators after the conviction of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
“When I delivered my first privilege speech regarding PDAF, I wondered where they got the funds that they distributed to the senators after the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona. The next day, it was Sec. Florencio Abad who divulged to the public that the funds given to the senators came from the DAP. It was Sec. Abad who exposed, who divulged to the public the existence of DAP,” he said.
He said not a single senator then knew about the existence of DAP which was no included in the General Appropriations Act.
“Si Sec. Abad was man enough to admit that it (allocation) came from DAP,” he added.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declared parts of DAP unconstitutional. (MNS)