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PIA Press Release

Transparency erases doubts on pork barrel use, says Cong-elect Bataoil

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (11 June) -- There is nothing wrong with congressional fund initiatives as long as they are used and managed properly, the congressman-elect of the second district told a media forum Friday.

Retired police Director Leopoldo Bataoil, guesting at the Engkwentro forum of the Pangasinan Press Club at the Jurassic Ark, said that whatever congressional funds allocated for his district redound to the benefit of his constituents. "As long as these funds - whatever you call them, pork barrel, countryside development fund (CDF) or poverty alleviation development fund (PDAF) - are managed properly and we maintain the highest level of transparency," he stressed.

Congressional initiatives, derisively called pork barrel, are said to be tainted with graft and corruption so that there are calls now for the incoming Aquino administration to do away with the system. The pork is also said to Malacanang?s weapon to force congressmen to support the administration.

Told of a proposal to adopt the so-called on line budgeting for projects to be pursued by congressmen in their respective areas, Bataoil said he was amenable to the idea pointing out that he espouses full transparency in the implementation of projects.

Congressmen are allotted at least P70 million for their PDAF every year.

Asked if he is going to jump to the Liberal Party as expected of several Lakas-Kampi members, he said he has remained with the present ruling party. However, he is now talking with a group or coalition which advocates peace and development, which group, he said, can work readily even with the administration.

He declined though to give details or specifics when asked to clarify if the group he was aligning with was the one indentified with the Liberal Party which has as candidate for House Speaker outgoing Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte.

Being a neophyte in the political field having devoted all his 33 years in the anti-crime campaign, he said he has been consulting with various sectors including the media and even his predecessor, Congressman Victor E. agbayani, to prepare himself for his new job. Bataoil retired in October last year.

He said he believed in what he called God?s greater plan or what others call destiny, citing his own experience. He said he initially thought of just enjoying his retirement but then there were calls for him to enter politics and now he is a member of the next Congress.

He disclosed that the bulk of his campaign expenses came from donations of well-meaning friends including his former colleagues in the service. But he clarified that he never used the Philippine National Police to his advantage during the campaign. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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