Ex-village exec insists Lazatin violated law on ‘pork use’

ANGELES CITY – Former Barangay Sto. Cristo chairman Aymer Alvarado insisted that Representative Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin (1st District) has violated the law on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) in making a family-owned institution as beneficiary to his pork barrel funds, which makes him liable for graft.

Responding to statements coming from the Lazatin camp, Alvarado said that beneficiaries to the Pdaf are named and determined by the congressman, not the implementing agency which, in this case, is the Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

“I am requesting Tarzan to tell the truth on this matter. It is very clear from the documents from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) which I submitted to the Commission that it was him who identified the recipients of the said fund grant and one of the recipients is the Republic Central Colleges (RCC),” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said that “granting that the implementing agency determines the beneficiaries, which is not true, Lazatin could have stopped Tesda from releasing funds to RCC, knowing that his family owns the school.”

“The RCC is a private profit-oriented educational institution. Documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission state that Lazatin’s sister, Dr. Victoria Lazatin-Angeles, is the chairman and Tarzan is one of the officers and a member of the board. At the end of the day, it is still the RCC that will profit most from the fund grant whatever the amount is. Hence, this is a clear case of conflict of interest,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, the Partido Abe Kapampangan also scoffed at the response of the Lazatin camp to Alvarado’s accusations as “confused and mixed up, and only tended to admit the anomalies of Lazatin in the use of his Pdaf.”

The Lazatin camp, through IC Calaguas, said P200,000 from the congressman’s Pdaf was released to Tesda for scholarships to a number of schools, including the RCC.

According to Calaguas, the congressman initially wanted to allocate funds for CCA (City College of Angeles), however, as per DBM regulations, the project should be handled by an implementing agency, in this case, the Commission on Higher Education (Ched). But Calaguas said that the CCA has not yet been accredited by Ched.

“By saying that Lazatin wanted to allocate funds to the CCA, it is very clear that it is the congressman who names and chooses the beneficiaries to his pork, and not the implementing agency,” said William Aguilar, deputy secretary general of Partido Abe.

Aguilar said that Lazatin has made the local government of Magalang as implementing agency of most of his Pdaf projects, including the purchase and distribution of multi-cab vehicles, used motorcycles and computers.

“Don’t tell us that it was the mayor of Magalang, as implementing agency, who chose the recipients of these equipment. Of course, it was Lazatin,” Aguilar said.

Alvarado filed a complaint-letter addressed to COA Chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan and copy furnished Regional Head Asst. Commissioner Winnie Rose Encalado and City Resident Auditor Rowena Bucu.

In the said letter, he alleged that Lazatin violated certain laws by appropriating funds from his PDAF to benefit the RCC, particularly Sec. 3 of Republic act 3190 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Sections 7 and 7a of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“Inamin na mismo ni Tarzan sa pamamagitan ng kanyang aide na sa ang Technological Education and Skills Development Authority or Tesda ang pambansang ahensiya na nag-implementa ng scholarship program. Sa pagkakaalam ko, ang City College of Angeles ay accredited na ng Tesda. Nakakapagtaka kung bakit hindi nagbigay ng pondo dito si Lazatin samantalang salita siya ng salita na free education daw sa CCA. Lumalabas na puro salita lang siya talaga at kulang sa gawa,” Alvarado said.

A report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) entitled “Pigging out on pork: PDAF racket rocks ‘daang matuwid’” indicated that implementing agencies only serve as “conduits of pork money.”

The said PCIJ report stated: “The unbending rule in the use of pork endures to this day: The lawmaker decides for which projects he wants to use his pork, anywhere in the country he wants to, or whichever local government unit, and the individuals he wants to benefit from it.”
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