Quantcast

Davao legislator gets sympathy but militants insist on probe

Rep. Carlos Zarate. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

DAVAO CITY—The involvement of Rep. Isidro Ungab in an alleged pork barrel scam only bolsters calls to scrap the fund allocations for pet projects of lawmakers for being sources of corruption, according to a militant party-list representative.

“That’s why we are filing the bill for the scrapping of the pork barrel not only in the legislative but also in the executive branch of government,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

Ungab’s name cropped up in the wake of a series of Inquirer reports linking a total of P10 billion in pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), from five senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives that went to ghost projects over the past 10 years.

A whistle-blower, Benhur K. Luy, earlier furnished the Inquirer with documents showing that Ungab, chair of the House appropriations committee and stalwart of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), used P5 million from his PDAF for livelihood projects in the third district of Davao City, where he ran unopposed in this year’s elections.

Zarate said he was surprised to find Ungab’s name dragged into the controversy being looked into by the National Bureau of Investigation.

He said the probe was leading toward a syndicate involved in falsifying documents and prying upon unsuspecting members of Congress.

“As a fellow Davaoeño, I know Representative Ungab. Even as a Davao City councilor, he was never linked to charges of corruption,” he said.

But the local chapter of a militant farmers’ group said it was impossible that Ungab had no knowledge about the channeling of his pork barrel to a bogus nongovernment organization (NGO) allegedly set up by Janet Lim-Napoles.

Probe necessary

The lawmaker must be investigated despite his statement that the project was legitimate, said Pedro Arnado, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Southern Mindanao.

“Farmers in Davao are already fed up with these scams. We are already very poor, yet government officials and their partners are siphoning the money allocated to help us. These officials, including Ungab, must be investigated,” Arnado said.

“They were tasked with tracing even a single peso coming out of their funds. How come they cannot trace millions of pesos?” he added.

According to the KMP, more than 75 percent of residents in the city’s 3rd district depend on agriculture, yet the majority of them live below the poverty line. “It will be a very big help if this amount [of pork barrel] reaches the farmers,” Arnado said.

LP ‘instrument’

“Ungab is just an instrument of the Liberal Party (LP) inside the House of Representatives. Napoles has really something to do with President Aquino and the LP. Since Mr. Aquino’s presidency many NGOs suddenly came out,” said Sheena Duazo, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Mindanao.

“These so-called NGOs divert funds and promote reforms in adherence to the daang matuwid (righteous path) policy, which actually deceives people that there is change under his administration. In reality, it only deodorizes the worsening poverty in the country,” Duazo added.

If the President is really serious in his anticorruption campaign, “it will do him well if he will order the immediate abolition of this lump-sum graft-enticing pork barrel funds in the proposed 2014 national budget,” Zarate said.—Reports from Germelina Lacorte and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao

Originally posted: 8:52 pm | Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright © 2014,

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94



News

  • Marine officer found dead in Taguig City
  • ‘Queenie’ intensifies into tropical storm
  • Cops find mauler’s Maserati in QC
  • ‘Queenie’ leaves 2 dead, 9 missing
  • Palace asked to suspend Southern Leyte governor
  • Sports

  • Beermen, Aces try to stay on top
  • Adeogun keys Lions’ victory
  • Ateneo de Iloilo, UV bag BEST crowns
  • Azkals, Vietnamese dispute Group A top spot tonight
  • Domingo targets Asian karting glory
  • Lifestyle

  • The colorful world of Tokidoki
  • Why we love Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’ (and why you will, too)
  • Crazy but charming new TV show
  • Deadly digits: Road accidents in the Metro
  • ‘Feel, touch, interact, try on merchandise’–fast-fashion house gets a reboot
  • Entertainment

  • Laxamana’s ‘Magkakabaung’ wins prize in Hanoi
  • ‘Hunger’ becomes war–and all bets are off
  • Musical treats for denim diehards
  • Shia gets treatment
  • ‘Junior citizens like us’
  • Business

  • Despite slowdown, traders still upbeat on economy
  • Winning more customer visits
  • GDP target now out of reach
  • Andy Murray in PSE?
  • PH social enterprises lauded
  • Technology

  • DOJ asked to probe phone, Internet use at penitentiary
  • Ride-sharing app Tripda arrives in PH
  • Twitter to track users’ phones/gadgets for app use
  • Reading Harry Potter gives clues to healthy brain activity
  • Sweep to offer alternative payment for SLEX, other tollways
  • Opinion

  • Revolutionary colorum
  • Comelec warns pols against premature campaigning
  • What’s in a Katipunan name?
  • Good stats
  • Coco farmers and women
  • Global Nation

  • Fil-Am elected mayor; another named to top judicial post
  • Francis’ popemobile could be a jeepney
  • Senator Santiago says Edca invalid, seeks probe
  • 1,200 youths led by 2 orphans to welcome Pope Francis
  • Beijing defies PH court ruling on Chinese poachers
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • Ombudsman endorses solon’s ouster

      Read More

    • 4Ps beneficiaries first on DSWD shelter aid list

      Read More

    • QC cops identify sports car driver who assaulted MMDA traffic enforcer

      Read More

    • Man holds saleslady hostage with screwdriver

      Read More

    • Turkey’s remaining Assyrian Christians dream of better lives

      Read More

    • ‘No refugee forced to strip naked in Malaysia’

      Read More

    • Hong Kong police arrest 116 at protest site

      Read More

    • Ferguson prepares for more protests over shooting

      Read More

    • Judge overturns Arkansas’ gay marriage ban

      Read More

    • US may send additional troops to Afghanistan next year

      Read More

    • US Army may station tanks in Eastern Europe–general

      Read More

    • Protesters from Mindanao storm mining company in Makati

      Read More

    • Violence after no indictment for white cop in black teen’s death

      Read More

    • Hong Kong begin clearing protest site

      Read More

    • Fears of major flooding in snowbound Buffalo ease

      Read More