Road construction without right of way: How 'pork' is inserted in budget

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2018 11:14 AM

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MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday said there are still insertions for congressional discretionary funds in the budget despite a Supreme Court ruling declaring it unconstitutional.

Speaking to radio DZMM, Lacson said some lawmakers do not coordinate with their own local units for proposed projects, which is the normal process for budget allocations.

Instead, lawmakers await the National Expenditure Program from the executive department and insert items without consultation with the local government units.

"Pork pa rin 'yun kasi wala namang pakialam ang legislator sa mga proyekto ng gobyerno," he said.

"Ang ine-emphasize lang nila, pre-legislation nang mangyari 'yan. Bago maaprubahan yung projects nila, andiyan na 'yan. Eh sinong namili? Mga congressman? Paano pumili? Self-serving din, sila ang namili," he added.

Lacson said several lawmakers have asked senators to restore allotted funds that were removed by the Senate for being "questionable."

He cited the case of a bypass road being built in Sariaya, Quezon, which was recently issued a notice of suspension for apparent lack of right of way despite ongoing construction. The project was initially given a budget of P466.8 million, he said.

"Saan ka nakakita na isasabay mo yung construction ng kalsada, hindi pa na-settle ang right of way? Saan mapupunta yun?" he asked.

"'Yung nakita namin sa Sariaya could just be a microcosm, a representative sample ng nangyayari sa ibang lugar," he added.