Senator JV Ejercito recalled on Thursday receiving additional P10 million in his fund when he was still a congressman after he voted for the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He believes that it came from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last week.
The senator said that a week after impeaching Corona, he was notified that he will be getting the additional funds on top of his P70 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
“I would presume na talagang ‘yung mga bumoto in favor of the Corona impeachment were the ones who were able to receive 10 million,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito said he was not directly told that the additional funds were rewards for voting to impeach Corona.
He pointed out, however, that the lawmakers who were on the list of those got the funds were also the same ones who voted in favor of the impeachment.
“After going through the list, I would say so,” Ejercito said when asked if he thinks that the DAP funds given to them were form of bribes after Corona’s impeachment.
Ejercito claimed that he did not know that the funds were coursed through the DAP.
He said as a neophyte congressman at that time, he was “very excited” to bring the additional P10 million to his district that he decided not to call for an investigation to determine the source of the funds.
Ejercito admits that this was a mistake.
“Iyon ang pagkukulang. I presumed no funds would come from regular savings and from regular PDAF. Tinanggap ko na lang,” he said.
The senator reiterated that he will return the funds if ordered following the decision of the Supreme Court declaring key parts of the DAP as unconstitutional.
“I am willing to return it since it is declared as illegal. And, kung they want us to return it, we have no choice but to follow and return it out of our pockets,” Ejercito said.
“I am very willing to return it as long as everybody will do the same,” he also said.
Introduced by the Aquino administration in 2011, the DAP realigned government savings from slow-moving projects to other programs to help speed up the economy.
It was Ejercito’s brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who first revealed that senators who voted to convict Corona received additional pork barrel, which turned out be from the DAP.