MANILA - Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said lawmakers may propose and itemize as much as P80 million worth of projects for their districts in the 2017 national budget.
Alvarez explained lawmakers have a say in the budget process since the budget is a law.
He added that lawmakers have to propose projects for their constituents to address their needs.
Speaking to DZMM on Monday afternoon, Alvarez said, “Hindi naman pwedeng walang limit kasi sa dami ng kongresista, kung ‘yung isa humingi ng mas malaki, kawawa naman yung …hopefully, maipasok natin ‘yung P80 million per district.”
However, Alvarez insisted there will be no pork barrel in the budget. Pork barrel is a lump sum at the discretion of one official. The budget is prepared and reviewed by the Budget Department and approved by Congress as a collegial body.
Alvarez said the Supreme Court has already outlawed pork barrel.
“Anong pork barrel sa line budgeting? Walang pork barrel. Dapat basahin nila ‘yung Supreme Court decision na nagsasabi ano ‘yung pork barrel, ano ‘yung hindi,” Alvarez said.
He added that the budget process and other legislative priorities are the reason why he is not keen on a congressional investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.
“Alam mo, ang iniisip ko iyan. Magpapa-imbestiga ang Kongreso. Ano ba iniisip na legislation ang gagawin natin diyan? Halimbawa, napatunayan natin mayroong summary execution, merong paglabag sa batas, ano naman legislation na pwede nating gawin?” he explained.
Alvarez also added there may be a duplication of the functions of the investigative organs of government. “’Yung pag-iimbestiga na iyan, meron namang nakaano na mandates nila yung NBI, DOJ, (Commission on) Human Rights. Ano pa gagawin ng Kongreso?
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat has filed a resolution for such an investigation.
For now, Alvarez says he wants to focus his attention on other legislative priorities like lowering income taxes, the passage of the freedom of information law, the emergency powers to address traffic in metro manila as well as a review of the benefits for members of the SSS and GSIS.
Alvarez also expressed openness to the proposal for a national ID system.
“Ang daming bansa na na gumagamit niyan, lalong lalo na ‘yung mga sabihin mong talagang democratic counties talaga. ‘Yun ginagawa nila. Walang panangangmbang ganun dapat dahil para naman sa kabutihan nating lahat iyan.”