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

  • Up to 8 ‘Mario’-like cyclones to enter PH before year ends–Pagasa
  • Aquino still mum on anointed one in 2016 presidential elections
  • Aquino to critics: File charges against my corrupt allies
  • US, ‘partners’ launch air strikes on IS jihadists in Syria
  • Albay classes resume in tent schools
  • Sports

  • Wushu ends PH wait for Asian Games medals
  • Gilas Pilipinas gets going vs India
  • Boxing draw Wednesday; Filipinos upbeat
  • Ateneo Blue Eagles, FEU Tamaraws say Final 4 duels too close to call
  • Lions protest Altas’ victory
  • Lifestyle

  • Fil-Am artist authors baybayin coloring book for kids
  • Victoria University of Wellington announces scholarships for Asean students
  • Running, workouts, golf: How Peter Coyiuto keeps fit at 60
  • The fit 40-plus family man
  • Peter Coyiuto shows a lighter side to 60
  • Entertainment

  • Robin Williams’ ‘Mork’ suit up for auction
  • ‘Chicago Fire’ heats up as ‘Tricked’ plays more pranks in new seasons
  • Batman prequel ‘Gotham’ premieres on US TV
  • Lion King best-selling production of all time
  • Mark takes on Marcos, no less
  • Business

  • US stocks retreat from records; Nasdaq down 1.14%
  • SMC lost money on PAL investment
  • August surplus trims 8-mo BOP deficit
  • Vista Land launches P1.7-B condo project on Taft
  • PSEi closes lower
  • Technology

  • A case of power meets protection
  • BlackBerry sets new phone launch in revival bid
  • Microsoft delays launch of Xbox in China – company
  • Filipino scientist helps make cooking on Mars possible
  • NASA’s MAVEN enters Mars orbit
  • Opinion

  • Risky powers
  • Other prisms
  • Elephant in the room
  • Marcos was the worst (2): The SC
  • Outdated restrictions
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Colorado turn out for passports, dual citizenship
  • Free health fair in LA for everyone, including undocumented
  • Owners of care homes arrested for wage theft in SF Bay Area
  • From UP activist to hooligan
  • Malaysia pulls out offensive video
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

    • US, ‘partners’ launch air strikes on IS jihadists in Syria

      Read More

    • Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific

      Read More

    • US cracks down on companies moving overseas

      Read More

    • New Zealand leader wants flag vote held next year

      Read More

    • New Afghan president, but vote totals kept secret

      Read More

    • Australia to prohibit secret service torture

      Read More

    • Yemen government signs peace deal with Shiites

      Read More

    • Vietnam debates sex work: ‘social evil’ or legitimate job?

      Read More

    • 32 structures destroyed in California wildfire

      Read More

    • Thousands march in Moscow against Ukraine fighting

      Read More

    • Thousands rally worldwide over climate change

      Read More

    • Manila opens ‘eco-footbridge’

      Read More

    • Screenwriter Ricky Lee lived 3 lives in detention

      Read More

    • ‘No hero’s burial for Marcos’

      Read More

    • Storms cause P1.14B in crop damage

      Read More