Ping Lac­son and Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS FEATURES -

Sen. Ping Lac­son has ac­cused for­mer Pres­i­dent and now Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo of insert­ing pork bar­rel in the pro­posed 2019 bud­get, with her district in Pam­panga get­ting as much as a P2.4-bil­lion al­lot­ment. The Supreme Court dis­al­lowed pork bar­rel in a 2013 rul­ing. The se­na­tor named an­other con­gress­man, who later turned out to be Ma­jor­ity Leader and Ca­marines Sur Rep. Rolando An­daya Jr.—a staunch Ar­royo sup­porter—as the re­cip­i­ent of a P1.9-bil­lion pork bar­rel for his own district. Ar­royo and An­daya, Lac­son said, were among the “blessed few” rep­re­sen­ta­tives whose con­stituen­cies were al­lo­cated much big­ger funds than the P60 mil­lion promised by the Speaker to each of the 292 law­mak­ers in the House. On Fri­day, An­daya said Lac­son had painted an in­com­plete pic­ture, say­ing that 99 other House mem­bers ac­tu­ally re­ceived more funds than Ar­royo. One con­gress­man, whom An­daya would not iden­tify, got as much as P8 bil­lion in al­lot­ment. The Ar­royo ally also said he did not see the need to ex­plain to the Palace why Ar­royo’s district was al­lot­ted a big amount, since the pro­posed na­tional bud­get was ap­proved by the en­tire cham­ber and not just by the Speaker. Lac­son, mean­while, noted that the pro­posed as­sis­tance to lo­cal gov­ern­ments was dou­bled by the House and the Se­nate with­out con­sult­ing the Depart­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment (DBM). An­daya coun­tered that law­mak­ers wouldn’t have ac­cess to the P16­bil­lion funds since these would be di­rectly man­aged by the DBM. There’s no need to seek per­mis­sion from other gov­ern­ment agen­cies, An­daya said, adding that Congress has the fi­nal say on the mat­ter. But the is­sues raised by Lac­son prompted the Se­nate to say that it might in­tro­duce changes in the pro­posed bud­get since the body sup­ported the se­na­tor’s move for trans­parency.

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