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VP de Castro spent P200M of public funds to project self -- Legarda

Of course, Noli Boy can only speak when he is reading something. Bigyan mo yan ng instant Q and A, magaling pa si Jenina San Pascual ng Binibini. "I don't feel any pressure right now."

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Vice President Noli de Castro's public service advertisements in television and billboards have eaten up government's millions of pesos of funds that could have been used to finance low-cost housing units.

This was disclosed Tuesday by Sen. Loren Legarda as she called for a regulation in the use of people's funds to support the political ambitions of politicians like De Castro who are occupying high positions in the government.

Legarda said advertising industry estimates that De Castro's office has spent roughly P200 million of taxpayers’ money so far for his purported public service ads.

“Equating that with an average low cost housing unit valued at P350,000, that's around 570 housing units for 570 families thrown to waste. Where's public service there?” she said.

At present, there are six housing agencies under the Office of the Vice President: the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating council, National Housing Authority, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp, Pag-Ibig, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, and Home Guaranty Corp.

Legarda said this means De Castro “can still use and abuse public money to advance his political interest.”

“If they are sincerely concerned about finances, why are they spending for personal and political projections of Noli whose funding comes from the housing agencies?” she said.

Legarda and De Castro fought a bitter battle for the vice presidential post during the 2004 national elections, with the former accusing the latter of resorting to irregularities to ensure his victory.

Legarda brought the issue to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal where it was junked.

De Castro, meanwhile, is emerging as the administration's strongest bet for the presidency in 2010, although he has denied having political ambitions for 2010. - GMANews.TV

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