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Reply of ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio to Akbayan regarding the P4 billion “Tulay ng Pangulo” funds

22 August 2013 No Comment


22 August 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)


It has been brought to my attention that Akbayan issued a press statement (“Tinio the Pinocchio and his P4B lie against Akbayan”) calling me a liar for accusing them of “allegedly pocketing P4B worth of pork.” Presumably, this is in connection with statements attributed to me in the news report “Solons find COA report full of flaws,” written by Christine Herrera, which appeared in the Manila Standard Today last August 19 (http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/08/19/solons-find-coa-report-full-of-flaws/).

“ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio once again played Pinocchio by accusing Akbayan of allegedly pocketing P4B worth of pork.” To my dear friends in Akbayan, let me say: those are your words, not mine. Please don’t put words in my mouth. Anyone who reads the news report in question will immediately see that I made no such accusation. In the two paragraphs in which I’m mentioned, I simply asked for an accounting of the P4 billion that Akbayan had caused to be allocated to Agrarian Reform Communities under the “Tulay ng Pangulo” program. (“…Tinio demanded to know what happened to the P4 billion in pork that the Akbayan party-list had allocated to agrarian reform communities under the Aquino administration” and “Tinio said the Aquino government should also provide details of the disbursement from 2011-2012, particularly to the P4 billion that the Akbayan identified for the “Tulay ng Pangulo” in agrarian reform communities.”) The demand for an accounting is not even addressed to Akbayan, but to Malacañang. Again, any suggestion that Akbayan pocketed the P4 billion came entirely from you, not from me.

As a legislator, I believe that I am duty-bound to call for an accounting of the said public funds, for the sake of Filipino taxpayers. During the budget hearings, I and my colleagues in Makabayan have called for similar detailed reports on the Executive’s use of lumpsums such as the Malampaya fund and the National Greening Program funds. I see it as part and parcel of the struggle for the abolition of the pork barrel system and for greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.

It is unfortunate that Akbayan has chosen to respond to a legitimate query in the name of the public interest with childish name-calling, false accusations, and all manner of aspersions not just against myself, but also against my colleagues in the Makabayan bloc. Let me remind Akbayan that no one in government should be averse to public scrutiny—not even coalition partners of the President.

In light of the above, and in the interest of fairness, I ask Akbayan to post this rejoinder on their website, for the benefit of their audience and the public at large. A public apology would also be appreciated. #

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