MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago admitted Thursday that she received funds for her projects but clarified that she was not informed that it was sourced from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In a press statement, Santiago said she was even surprised upon seeing her name on the list of legislators who received DAP allocations.
“In my case, a few months ago, I even requested from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) a list of any DAP releases to me. It took them some time to give me the list. And when I received it, even I was surprised, because when my Office reportedly received the funds, they were not identified as DAP funds,” she said.
Santiago maintained that she did not ask for any DAP releases made to her.
“They must have been received in due course by my Office, from the Senate secretariat. If so, I would have assigned the funds to my usual PDAF projects – such as the UP system throughout the country, PGH, other hospitals, or local government units – but certainly not to NGOs,” she said.
She added that the usual practice was for the Senate secretariat to inform a senator that a certain sum of money was available for use in favor of projects for their constituents.
She said since the notice came from the secretariat, she simply relied on the presumption of regularity in the discharge of official functions.
“I did not inquire whether the funds were PDAF or DAP. All disbursements that I made were properly reported as required by law,” she said.
Futher, Santiago said that if the inclusion of her name is necessitated by a listing of all DAP releases, “then I understand that there is no malice. But if my name alone is given prominence, then I will interpret this news as an attempt to cow me, because I authored the resolution calling for Question Hour with the secretary of Budget and Management.”
She said the scandal about DAP involves members of Congress who gave DAP to NGOs, which are either non-existent or corrupt.
Santiago and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. were included in the new list of DAP recipients released Wednesday by the DBM. (MNS)