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

  • Whistle-blowers now alarmed
  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • PH, HK end bitter row; sanctions lifted
  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy

      Read More

    • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage

      Read More

    • DOH releases names of Etihad passengers yet to be tested for MERS-CoV

      Read More

    • Drilon calls for sobriety as mudslinging, witch hunts loom due to pork scam

      Read More

    • S. Korea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

      Read More

    • If Napoles names Aquino allies, they’ll be brought to bar of justice – Palace

      Read More

    • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some

      Read More

    • Militants: Napoles as state witness is ‘clear travesty of justice’

      Read More

    • US ‘closely watching’ for signs of N.Korea nuclear test

      Read More

    • Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila

      Read More

    • Lacson: Number of pork-tainted senators could form quorum

      Read More

    • Anti-Obama protesters clash with police in Manila

      Read More

    • Napoles’ surgery successful—doctor

      Read More

    • Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs

      Read More

    • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

      Read More