Lawmaker calls for Abad’s head, tags budget chief a bully

ZAMBALES Rep. Mitos Magsaysay is calling for Secretary Butch Abad’s head after the budget chief stated that opposition lawmakers will continue not to receive their allotted pork barrels due to “political realities” that the administration has to consider.

Magsaysay said that Abad’s arrogance in expecting people to simply accept his flimsy justification is astounding and that his actions smack of power tripping and bullying.

“The people from districts under the jurisdiction of opposition lawmakers are taxpayers who have equal rights to government services as much as people under the leadership of administration allies. Publicly stating that funds for vital projects that sustain our districts will be frozen due to political reasons is equivalent to depriving our citizens of services that they have paid for.”

“Secretary Abad should explain the legal basis for withholding the PDAF when each district’s pork barrel was already identified under the approved General Appropriations Act. He cannot just do this on a whim because every congressman is entitled to his share of the budget to develop his  district. This is the way government works in this country. What he is doing is against the law.”

Magsaysay added that Abad’s actions also infringe on the mandate of members of Congress to identify the projects in which the funds will be allocated. She further explains that this right is entitled to congressmen because they are more attuned to the particular needs of the constituency, being the ones monitoring what happens in the districts.

“He knows as well as I do these rights because he has been a congressman himself. These are all stated under the law, provisions that they have conveniently forgotten and disregarded in the past couple of years.”

Magsaysay said that Abad’s statement that the projects will continue through the DPWH is unacceptable because this is already part of the infrastructure program of the national government, and are not even connected to the PDAF. She said infrastructure accounts for only a small part of development initiatives in the districts and it is absurd to expect the taxpayers to be content with just this small crumb of government support when they are entitled to an entire pie.

“Not all the projects in the district involve infrastructure. People need more than infrastructure to uplift their lives. What about their need for a sustainable education program, a project for livelihood, health issues?”

“For the past two years that my PDAF was withheld, just to continue the district scholarships, I have had to ask for the support of the private sector through their corporate social responsibility projects, and the same goes for the other projects with health, livelihood. I am very thankful for these firms who found it in their hearts to help with the cause. The funds did not come from them (admin) so they should stop lying and claiming that they provided the funds by channeling it directly to the district.”

“Our programs at the district are geared towards addressing the needs of the constituents, and if they (admin) truly want a daang matuwid like they claim, perhaps they should start digging deep within themselves and reflect whether they have been following their mantra. Is bullying part of a daang matuwid? Is going against the law part of daang matuwid?

If the President truly wanted to convince people that his men are all in the straight and narrow, then they must prove that their actions are beyond reproach too. If these people who claim to be high and mighty do not meet these standards, then they should be replaced by officials who will embody their slogan.”

“The problem with them is that they cannot take criticism. They lash out by being unprofessional and proving their strength by withholding funds that could be used to address the problems that they continue to turn a blind eye to. The problem is they are using their personal issues against me as a basis for these decisions and they are punishing the entire constituency with their actions. The problem is for an administration that is super sensitive to opposing ideas, this one sure lacks sensitivity to the needs of the people. The problem is that they are vindictive, immature and irrational and until they overcome these tendencies, it is hard to move forward to achieve the development that they envision for the country. That is the real problem and not ‘political realities’ posed by the opposition.”

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