Press Release
September 29, 2010


On DA budget

DRILON: ...Part of the review of the budget for 2011 is an examination of how the budget for 2010 was utilized. In our possession are highly questionable releases during the election period. The documents in our possession would indicate that on Feb. 22 2010, there was a request and there was a release of P3,650,000,000 to various regional field units (RFUs) of the DA. Like the fertilizer scam before, the regional field units were the implementing arm. Likewise on March 23 2010, another P1,246,150,000 was released to the RFUs. This is a little unusual because in that short period of time, at least P4,896,150,000... that total amount was released to the RFUs. We will be looking into this just like the releases that we discovered in the DPWH where about P1.2 billion in dredging projects were released all over the country. This amount of P4,896,150,000 were farm-to-market roads and other infrastructure projects. We will be looking at this closely and what projects were executed pursuant to this because these are very vague descriptions. It simply requests the issuance of advice of sub-allotments to DA RFUs for the implementation of other infrastructure projects. I wish to emphasize that these funds were already in the DA and that is why it is now the issuance of what they call sub-allotment advice. There were already SAROs released for this previously. For example, for the P3,650,000,000 which was released to the RFUs on Feb. 22 2010, it was taken from the GMA Rice Program for calendar year 2010, under SARO No. 10-0000432 dated Feb. 10 2010. In other words, the amount was released to the DA by the DBM on Feb. 10 2010 and then on Feb. 22 2010, these were cascaded to the RFUs. Similarly, the amount of P1,246,150,000 again was under the GMA Rice Program for calendar year 2010 for capital outlay which means infrastructure, this was covered by SARO No. E-10-001302 dated March 17 2010. So there was apparently haste in immediately cascading these funds to the RFUs. We still have to look into this because it appears that there are very uneven distributions. For example, Region 6, which is a rice-producing region, the amount of P288 million was cascaded to Region 6. But for ARMM, P436 million was released. Similarly, on March 22, in Region 12, P267,650,000 was released to the RFUs.

So these are releases which appear to be election-related, like the fertilizer scam, the funds were released to the RFUs. Ito po'y nakakapagtaka na sa loob ng 2 araw lamang--Pebrero 22 2010 at Marso 23 2010--mahigit sa P4,869,000,000 ang ikinalat sa 13 regional offices ng DA. Ating alamin kung saan napunta itong mga pondong ito at ito daw po ay para sa farm-to-market roads at kung anu-anong mga infrastructure. But Sen. Zubiri, during the hearing, did bring out the fact that there were apparently dealers and brokers who would offer these amounts to the LGUs with certain cuts and certain commissions. According to Sen. Zubiri, he brought this to the attention of the officialdom of DA at that time but nothing was done. He brought it to the attention, according to him, of Secretary Yap.

We will be looking closely to this. The next several weeks, we will be examining this together with the dredging contracts for the 10 provinces that we saw in the DPWH in the total amount of P1.2 billion.

Q: Any accomplishment report on these infrastructure projects?

DRILON: None to our knowledge.

Q: Walang sina-submit yung DA?

 DRILON: Wala.

Q: May binanggit kayo kanina na releases from May 18-June 29?

DRILON: I do not want to mention that because I do not know, baka mag duplication, because these are now fund releases on Feb 22 and March 23. I am also looking at fund releases from May 18 to June 29, but I want to check. There might be duplication.

Q: In this case, walang foundations ito di katulad sa fertilizer scam?

DRILON: I do not know yet because I am just releasing to you and indicating that these are releases made on Feb 22 and March 23. I have the documents which now request for the issuance of the advice of sub-allotment. What this means is merong notice of cash allocation, merong SARO. Buong SARO ang binibigay from DBM to DA, I mean that's a whole amount. In Feb 10, P3.650 billion under SARO No. 10-0000432 dated Feb 10 2010 was released to the DA. After that, on Feb 22 this was now cascaded to the RFUs in various amounts. ARMM got P436 million out of that. Ni-release sa DA at binaba nila sa RFUs.

Q: How did they funnel that to election-related...?

DRILON: Then we have to look at the accomplishments, what were the projects done, who were the contractors. We will be looking at this in more detail.

Q: Mananagot ba ang mga dating DA officials?

DRILON: Well, I do not want to... Allow me to look deeper into it.

Q: Will you conduct a separate hearing on this?

DRILON: We will be looking at all the releases during the election period. We have started with the dredging releases, now agriculture. As we go along...

Q: Sa budget hearing?

DRILON: Sa budget hearing because we will only discover this in the budget hearings and then afterwards, after we have conducted our own investigation, we will conduct separate hearings on this.

Q: So hindi kayo masa-satisfy sa mga isa-submit?

DRILON: Yes, if it's not properly explained.

Q: Midnight releases?

DRILON: These were releases done just before the ban.

Q: Anong justification ng DA?

DRILON: I didn't have time to take it up because the senators had a lot of questions on the budget. It was mentioned in passing by Sen. Zubiri.

Q: So far sina Sec. Alcala wala pang ginagawa dito?

DRILON: Wala pa, because I don't know if he is aware of this already. But these are records of the DA.

Q: Sinong nagbigay sa inyo ng documents?

DRILON: It's a DA record but I will not reveal who because otherwise... I am not picking up from here, these are based on documents.

Q: Sec. Alcala will be coming with documents on the use of the funds?

DRILON: Let me investigate first further and then we will call them to respond to our questions after we have reviewed all the documents. But not I'm just telling you about the releases done in such short periods, during the election time.

Q: Masasabi nyo bang nakinabang ang mga kaalyado ni GMA?

DRILON: I don't want to make any irresponsible conclusion at this point. I'm just telling you that there are unusually large releases in this crucial election period.

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