MANILA - Budget Secretary Florencio Abad gave a simple answer to critics' accusations that Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas is using public funds for his political advertisements.
"Knowing Sec Mar, no public funds are involved there. Isang kanto lang ng Cubao yun," Abad said.
Roxas is part of the Araneta family, which owns large commercial interests including the Cubao commercial center.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate has questioned the source of Roxas’ campaign funds, saying the presidential candidate is showing more ads on TV.
He noted that "15 seconds on a prime time commercial spot can go upwards from P250,000, while 30 seconds on TV can go upwards from half a million."
Meanwhile, Abad also denied the allegation of the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay that the P303-billion government savings from the 2014 national budget will be used by the Liberal Party to fund Roxas' campaign. "That's completely untrue," he said.
The budget chief said the government had P290 billion in savings, which was carried over to 2015. Of that amount, P190 billion is for "unobligated allotments which are in fact being implemented," he said.
"Still, it's with the agencies, not with us."
Atty. Rico Quicho, Binay's spokesperson for political affairs, earlier noted that the government had savings of P303 billion from its P2.4 trillion budget in 2014.
"Secretary Butch Abad has said in an interview this will be released in the second half of this year. Why? We can not help but think that the 'savings' will be used to fund the campaign of LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas," Quicho said.
He also blasted the government's underspending and failure to release government funds in time, including the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program.