Secretary Abaya, I Have a Couple Questions

joseph-emilio-abayaReading Bobi Tiglao’s column in The Manila Times this morning, wherein he mentions former Cavite 1st District Representative and current Secretary of the Department of Transportation & Communications (DOTC) Joseph Emilio Abaya, I was reminded of something odd I first spotted a few weeks ago. Since no one seems to be asking Secretary Abaya about it — which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with his being a key leader in the Liberal Party — I suppose I better do the asking. It’s a public service, really. So here goes:

First, how does a former Congressmen who was appointed to the DOTC at the end of August, 2012 and took his oath (after confirmation by the Commission on Appointments) in early October (I believe it was on October 8, specifically, but my memory might be a little hazy as to the exact date) manage to have a total of P50 million of PDAF releases in his name in just two days, October 24 and 25, 2012, as disclosed by the Department of Budget & Management here?

Second, what is “Operation I-Smile” and why is it worth P30 million for a town with a population of less than 80,000?

what the hell is this

Search for “Operation I-Smile” on Google and you will turn up nothing except this statement posted on the Government’s Full Disclosure Policy Portal from Kawit’s Municipal Accounting Office, which is not much help:

 kawit acct

There is an organization called “Operation Smile” (sans the “I”) in the Philippines, which is part of a global foundation that conducts cleft lip/cleft palate surgeries for poor children, but Kawit, Cavite was not on their schedule of missions in 2012, nor this year. The normal cost for such a surgery on a charitable basis in this country is about $250 (around P10,750), to defray the volunteer doctors’ traveling and lodging expenses, and other incidental costs. If the mysterious “Operation I-Smile” happens to be the same sort of program — no one really seems to know what it is — then at that rate, P30 million should be good for around 2,700 patients; a plausible number if the incidence of cleft lip or cleft palate in Kawit is roughly 30 times higher than the national average, or if every single baby born there in the past two-and-a-half years was born with one of those defects.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and that a Congressman’s receiving an enormous PDAF allocation at least two months after he became the head of an Executive Department, and then earmarking a very large part of it to a program that has no paper trail and for which requests for information elicit a lot of head-scratching and stammering is completely transparent and in no way whatsoever something that anyone should suspect is a part of the fiscal malfeasance being revealed on almost a daily basis. Because if that’s the case, Secretary Abaya would do himself a big favor by disclosing the details of this rather curious dangling participle of an accounting entry, lest some skepticism about his ethical reliability begins to grow.

Just a suggestion.

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

20 Comments on “Secretary Abaya, I Have a Couple Questions”

  1. Thanks for informing us of this, BenK! Let’s expose all the shenanigans of Aquino & co.! Maybe when we’ve exposed enough, the Aquino supporters out there will finally realize that they made a mistake in believing that phony guy. I still believe in miracles….

  2. Sec. Abaya is working for the president, so the president therefore is aware of the public transaction done by his secretaries for it directly needs his signature, if so the president condone the anomalous transaction made by his men and women in the cabinet . so nasaan na yong daan matuwid na ngayon ay pali liku liku na.

  3. If you noticed, the project is called Operation I-Smile. It means he put his PDAF in a project that will make himm smile, which is in his bank account.

  4. kung itong 30 million ghost’ trasaction ni sec abaya ay kinukunsinti ni pnoy …..eh ung kanyang pdaf kaya san napupunta….

  5. Ano naman, Ben, sabi ng research mo, kung bakit walang costs/expenses ng mga activities or items above the operation I- Smile? Blangko ba talaga o kasama sila and totalled under I-Smile altogether? Paki-explain.Kumpletuhin mo naman para sa mga readers mo. Please ask the agency source. May access ka naman yata. Otherwise, you are showing an incomplete picture.
    Explain lang po. Slow ako sa arithmetic.

  6. Thanks Benk for the info.
    Harmony,maybe the president is aware of this.
    Mackoy, ok yan tuwad na daan
    Orlando, yhes all smile nga siguro si Abaya pag tinitignan niya yung bank account nya!
    At san nga kaya napupunta ang PDaf ni Pnoy
    Richard, baka dapat lahat tayo mag research na!

  7. Tiglao=Attack Dog of GMA, GMA=Corrupt so was Tiglao… To BenK, before questioning Abaya(btw, also a corrupt politician), maybe you should ask Tiglao first if he believe in “Ang magnanakaw ay galit sa kapwa magnanakaw”. if he answered you with YES. there’s no need to questioned Abaya.if he answered NO,slap him in the face

    1. To this day, evidences of GMA’s supposed corruption have not been found. GMA is under hospital arrest only because Aquino slapped her with non-bailable crimes that would already ensure that she’s punished (imprisoned) even before her supposed crimes could be proven. If you have evidences of her guilt, you can help by presenting them to the court. As for Tiglao, he hasn’t even been charged with anything. Again, if you have evidences of his crimes, please submit them to Malacanang. I’m sure Aquino will only be too happy to get his hands on them so he could also put Tiglao behind bars.

  8. Tiglao=Attack Dog of GMA, GMA=Corrupt so was Tiglao… To BenK, before questioning Abaya(btw, also a corrupt politician), maybe you should ask Tiglao first if he believe in “Ang magnanakaw ay galit sa kapwa magnanakaw”. if he answered you with YES. there’s no need to questioned Abaya.if he answered NO,slap him in the face

      1. To this day, evidences of GMA’s supposed corruption have not been found. GMA is under hospital arrest only because Aquino slapped her with non-bailable crimes that would already ensure that she’s punished (imprisoned) even before her supposed crimes could be proven. If you have evidences of her guilt, you can help by presenting them to the court. As for Tiglao, he hasn’t even been charged with anything. Again, if you have evidences of his crimes, please submit them to Malacanang. I’m sure Aquino will only be too happy to get his hands on them so he could also put Tiglao behind bars.

  9. Just curious as an outside observer, but did anything ever come of this? If not, why not? Was there any explanation ever given and was it reasonable, or has everything been ignored. If so, why have people let this stand, in particular the reporting community? From the description in the article it seems like a pretty obvious form of graft and fraud.

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