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John Osmeña: Arroyo tolerated PDAF abuse to get her way with Congress

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Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo looked the other way when lawmakers channeled their pork barrel funds to questionable non-government organizations so she could goad Congress into passing her pet bills, Toledo, Cebu Mayor John Osmeña has claimed.

Osmeña, who used to be a senator, said that while the practice of misusing the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is nothing new, it became worse during the Arroyo administration.

“Gloria didn’t invent it. She magnified it [to suit her needs],” he said.

“It was a form of bribery for legislators so [they would] pass the bill[s] she wanted passed,” Osmeña added.

Under Arroyo’s watch, the former senator said the system of implementing pork barrel-funded projects was changed to having government agencies carry them out, to requiring lawmakers to find NGOs through which they will channel their funds.

Osmeña described the Arroyo administration as “Napoles era,” referring to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.