GMA News Online
News
»
Nation

Nothing wrong in Arroyo's P459-million projects in Pampanga, Palace says

January 8, 2010 1:15am

Palace officials rushed to the defense of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Thursday after a militant lawmaker revealed that the President spent P459 million on infrastructure projects in the district where she will run for congresswoman this May.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said Mrs. Arroyo's spending for projects in the second district of Pampanga this year was not only "legal" but also "proper, understandable, beneficial to our countrymen who lived in that part of the country."

"The sensationalist charge by a senatorial candidate in the opposition about alleged favoritism in infrastructure spending in the President’s home district can only be described, charitably, as a creative and selective presentation of the facts," Olivar said.

He was referring to Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros Baraquel, a guest candidate in the Liberal Party's senatorial slate, who on Wednesday revealed Mrs. Arroyo's spending and branded it as "improper" and "shameless."

Mrs. Arroyo's political spokesperson Romulo Macalintal called Hontiveros' revelation "speculative" and baseless.

"Yung mga sinubmit niyang alleged documents ay hindi nagpapatunay na yun ay proyektong ginawa ng Pangulo para sa kanyang paghahalal (The alleged documents Hontiveros submitted do not prove that the President implemented those projects for her congressional bid)," Macalintal said in an ambush interview with reporters at the Commission on Elections.

He pointed out that the President had also implemented infrastructure projects in places other than Pampanga.

"Ang isang pangulo ay may karapatang gawin ang kanyang katungkulan, yan talaga ang kanyang katungkulan sa ilalim ng batas kaya't sa aking palagay ito'y political harassment lamang (A president has the right to do that, in fact that is her job under the law, and I think this is mere political harrassment)," Macalintal said as he expressed confidence that Hontiveros' disqualification petition against Mrs. Arroyo will not flourish.

Chief presidential legal counsel and former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said that so long as the funds are properly appropriated, there was nothing wrong in Mrs. Arroyo's huge spending on infrastructure in her district.

"All these are speculations of people, these are criticisms made by people who do not like the president," Gonzalez said in an interview on dzXL radio.

Citing Department of Public Works and Highways Region III records, Hontiveros said Mrs. Arroyo spent P3 million for a slope protection project in Lubao, P5 million to build a drainage canal in the Angeles-Porac-Dinalupihan Road, P17 million to build the Basa Airbase access road, P100 million to build the Basa Airbase access road interchange, P3 million to desilt and declog the river in Bancal Pudad, Lubao, and P3.5 million to riprap feeder roads in Lubao.

She also spent P4.2 million to construct a drainage canal in Lubao, P700,000 to desilt and declog the river in Sta. Catalina, Lubao, P3 million to desilt and declog the Rio Grande de la Pampanga in Lubao, P3 million to desilt and declog Gumi River in Lubao, P3 million to desilt and declog Sapang Wanan in Lubao, and P9.1 million to build concrete roads in Lubao.

Also spent were P20 million to repair the San Fernando-Lubao Road passing through Sta. Monica, P20 million to repair the San Fernando-Lubao Road passing through San Antonio, P10.5 million to build a multipurpose building in Lubao, P5 million to rehabilitate the Calantas FMR in Floridablanca, P5 million for a slope protection project in Porac, Carmen, Floridablanca, P700,000 to riprap a creek in San Agustin, Sta. Rita.

Mrs. Arroyo also spent P3 million to construct a line canal in San Nicolas, Floridablanca, P1.3 million to construct and repair canals in Sta. Rita, P5 million for a slope protection project in Porac, Valdez, Floridablanca, P12 million for a slope protection project in Porac, Pulungmasle, Guagua, P5 million to improve the municipal building of Sasmuan, P5 million to upgrade the feeder road in Sto. Cristo, Guagua.

Likewise spent were P1.4 million to repair roads in Sta. Rita, P5 million to build a drainage canal in San Antonio, Floridablanca, P30 million to rehabilitate Babsukan Road, P4.2 million to construct a multipurpose building in Sasmuan, P1.4 million to construct a multipurpose building in Sta Rita, P150 million to construct the Lubao bypass road of the San Fernando-Olongapo Road.

Another P20 million was spent to dredge the mouth of the Third River near Pampanga Bay.

Despite the President's spokespersons' defenses, Hontiveros maintained that Mrs. Arroyo's spending on Pampanga's second district was improper.

"There’s nothing illegal in principle about the Office of the President spending more funds than allotted for infrastructures in a district," she said in an ambush interview with Comelec reporters. "Pero ang impropriety dito ay ipinatupad at ipinatutupad dito ang ganyang kalaking mga proyekto sa distrito where she just happened to be running now for Congress (But the impropriety here is that she implemented and is continuing to implement projects of that magnitude where she just happened to be running now for Congress)."

"I think we may not find another example like her anywhere in the world," added Hontiveros. – with reports from Kimberly Jane Tan, Johanna Camille Sisante/JV, GMANews.TV
Go to comments