MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday the P100-million funds which he availed of under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in 2012 were not misused.
Drilon stressed that every centavo of the funds was properly spent in a project that would spur development in Western Visayas.
“The funds I availed of were not misused, nor were they channeled to a bogus non-government organization,” Drilon pointed out.
Drilon said the discretionary funds were used for the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center in order to boost Iloilo’s chances of hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings in 2015.
“I invite everyone to visit Iloilo and take a look at the Iloilo Convention Center which is nearing completion,” Drilon said.
Drilon explained where he spent the funds after Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago asked the lawmakers to return the P1.1 billion DAP released to them six months after the impeachment of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
”What is important is that we can account for every centavo of the public funds and that there is transparency and accountability in the implementation,” he emphasized.
Drilon pointed out that official records would show that every peso in discretionary funds he availed of was directly coursed through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which implemented the project.
The Senate chief also said that while he respects the decision of the Supreme Court, he still believes that the DAP has served its purpose of expediting the spending capacity of the government which resulted in higher-than-expected growth rates for the past quarters.
Drilon said that he spearheaded the construction of the convention center, which has a total cost of P700 million, in order to expand the tourism industry in Western Visayas.
“It is designed to attract and accommodate major conferences, summits, congresses, fairs, and trade shows and exhibits. It can accommodate more than 3,700 people,” noted Drilon.
Last Tuesday, the SC declared ‘certain acts’ under the DAP unconstitutional.
The DAP was introduced in 2011 to spur economic activity and growth through the spending of funds.