Tell it to SunStar: Senator calls for probe into DPWH ‘syndicate’ behind fund parking scheme

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022 asked the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) to look into the possible existence of a syndicate behind the illegal realignment of billions of pesos in funds in the 2023 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).“As a former Speaker of the House, various sources have brought to my attention that there could be a group controlling the allocation of projects to the different congressional districts,” Cayetano said.“What is more alarming is the possibility that the fund manipulation is happening at the source, meaning the DPWH budget, even before it is submitted to Congress,” he added.Cayetano said the “parking” of funds used to be done at the bicameral level and usually in relatively smaller amounts, but now the practice involves billions of pesos and has become more prevalent.“If reports are true, it has become a corruption pandemic,” he said.Calling it an “expanded fund parking scheme,” Cayetano said the practice involves deliberately slashing the budget of certain congressional districts and then negotiating its reinstatement in exchange for giving the projects to favored contractors.“Ang sumbong sa akin ay binabawasan daw ang budget ng mga distrito, tapos kakausapin nila ang congressman doon na pwede nilang ibalik ang pondo pero sila ang mamimili ng project at contractor nila ang gagawa nito. ‘Hulidap’ ang tawag dito,” he said.(The reports that came to me were that the budgets of the districts are reduced. Then, they will talk to the congressman, telling the latter that they can return the funds but they will choose the project and their contractor will do the work. This is called “hulidap.”)Cayetano said the budgets of several districts were inexplicably cut in the 2023 National Expenditure Program, from as low as 21.41 percent to as high as 93.12 percent.He called on Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, as head of the DBCC, to investigate the matter and find out the truth behind allegations that a syndicate is behind the illegal parking of funds.