Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Tuesday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements that she channeled the department funds to the members of the New People’s Army to purchase firearm, saying not even a single peso of the fund passed through her.
“For the record and for the president’s own awareness, not a single peso of the (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) 4Ps program passed through my hands,” said Taguiwalo.
Duterte said on Monday that he never accused the former DSWD chief of redirecting funds but there were reports that government funds under the conditional cash transfer program were transferred to the NPA, the armed wing of the National Democratic Front (NDF) during the time when she is the still the secretary. Taguiwalo was an NDF nominee to the Duterte Cabinet.
Taguiwalo refuted to the president’s remarks, citing that funds are directly distributed to the Pantawid beneficiaries and all transactions are recorded.
“The program funds are directly coursed through the Landbank and its conduits who then make direct payout to the Pantawid beneficiaries. These transactions are recorded and [the] Commission on Audit regularly audits this program,” Taguiwalo added.
Taguiwalo also told Duterte not to legitimize baseless accusations against her.
“I have tried my best to ensure that the department fulfills its mandate of protecting and promoting the rights of the poor and to shield it from becoming an instrument of corruption and patronage,” Taguiwalo said.
“I have done my best as a member of the president’s Cabinet and his government and served the people with humility and full transparency. The least I asked of him is to not legitimize baseless accusations against me,” she added.
Taguiwalo added that if the president’s allies raised questions about the issue before the Commission on Appointment’s deliberations or even the congressional discussions for the 2018 national budget, she would have given answers that are “easily justifiable.”
Taguiwalo said that no beneficiaries were added to the list except the families of soldiers killed or those who have been wounded in action in obedience with the president’s order.
“When I first arrived in the DSWD, among my first declarations and actions were to say that the 4Ps program would not be expanding. This means that the 4.4 million beneficiary-households of the program will not increase. These members are from the Listahanan of DSWD based on a nationwide assessment of the poor. The list was already in place when I became secretary,” the former secretary said.