MANILA – While at odds with his brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada found an ally in Senator JV Ejercito in justifying the propriety of realigning funds to local government units.
Estrada is again in the middle of a controversy for the allocations that he pushed in the 2014 budget, wherein P100 million was pegged for the city of Manila where his father is the mayor, P50 million to Caloocan City and another P50 for the municipality of Lal-lo, Cagayan.
In an interview Monday, Ejercito said his brother may have a valid reason in pushing the inclusion of the allocation for the municipalities under the 2014 budget.
"Sigurado meron naman ho syang magandang rason kung bakit nya ginawa yun, siguro para makatulong na din kasi lubog sa utang ang city of Manila," said the son of former President Joseph Estrada with former actress and San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez.
Ejercito told reporters that he himself made use of the allocation for his office and placed it under the calamity fund for 2014.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, for his part, said that there is nothing irregular with the allocations identified by Estrada.
What was more surprising to him was Senator Antonio Trillanes’ statements. The latter earlier said: "[Estrada] should be more circumspect."
"Eh sya kasama din ho dun eh,” Binay said of Trillanes.
The Vice President explained that what the Supreme Court prohibited was the exercise of discretion of a legislator in a particular funding, and not while the funding is being studied in Congress.
"Ito ho eh hindi naman dun sa pinagbabawal. Unang-una, ito ho ay nangyari bago pa na-declare na unconstitutional (pork funds). Pangalawa, wala nang hawak dito sa Congress,” he said.
Ejercito and Binay were guests at the groundbreaking ceremony of the housing project for the informal settlers of San Juan, held this morning at Pinaglabanan street, St. Joseph Village, San Juan City.
Also present were Gomez and the former President.