KMP 'misfires' again with Aquino, Abad plunder charges — DBM

January 23, 2014 8:54 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Jan. 22 (PNA) — The Department of Budget and Management-Public Information Unit (DBM-PIU) on Wednesday slammed the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) for implicating President Benigno Aquino III and DBM secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad in the alleged misuse of P125 million in Malampaya Funds, which KMP said were released by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to dubious non-government organizations (NGOs).

"The charges that the KMP have yet again leveled against President Aquino and Secretary Abad can only be the product of either shoddy research or a hyperactive imagination," the DBM-PIU said in a statement.

"To begin with, the Malampaya Fund releases in question were actually made in 2009, under the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It would be another year before President Aquino would assume leadership of the country, and another year before Secretary Abad would helm the budget department," it stressed.

According to DBM records, the only Malampaya Fund released to DAR was made on November 19, 2009, with P900 million provided to the agency for "support services to the Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs)," particularly for recovery projects/programs in the wake of typhoons 'Ondoy' and 'Pepeng'."

Since the beginning of the Aquino administration, however, the DBM said, all Malampaya Fund releases authorized by President Aquino "have been directed to energy or energy-related projects, including those for securing or defending the country’s energy resources."

"Under this administration, the DBM has helped ensure that Malampaya Funds are used exactly for their mandated purpose," it stated.

"If fund misuse is indeed suspected in the utilization of Malampaya Funds in 2009, we join the citizens in demanding accountability from all responsible parties. Meanwhile, however, we suggest that the KMP first get the facts straight before filing other poorly supported complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman," said DBM-PIU head Charisse Paderna.

For his part, Abad said that the key to the administration’s reform agenda "is the vigilant engagement of all citizens and concerned groups, particularly with respect to demanding accountability from government officials."

"But in filing yet another weakly supported plunder complaint, KMP have made it clear that accountability is not as much their priority as attracting undue attention is," he said.

To date, Abad said, KMP's energies "have been devoted entirely towards discrediting the current administration, all with little to no regard for the truth or the interests of the farmers they claim to represent."

"It’s increasingly obvious to us that KMP will do most anything to make themselves heard — even if their arguments are no longer based on fact — if only to further their own agenda," he said.

"I cannot emphasize enough the valuable role that various groups and people’s organizations have played in our good governance campaign. We thus urge the KMP to make good use of their influence and reach as a militant farmers’ group by resorting to fruitful action that will actually benefit the communities around them," he added. (PNA)

CTB/LGI

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