Speaker Arroyo faces tug-of-war over funds: sources

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2018 05:03 PM

MANILA - Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is facing a challenge to unseat her just 2 months after she was installed because of disagreements on some allocations in the 2019 budget, sources said Monday.

A highly placed source said this is coming from the group that is insisting on keeping some P55 billion worth of projects in the 2019 budget. The source claimed Arroyo wanted the money distributed equitably to all congressmen.

The source said Arroyo might be replaced with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco but the proposal is not gaining traction now. 

Another source said the projects in question affect 40-50 congressmen and were prepared under the previous House Speakership.

A source who claims to have seen a list said about P4.7 billion went to a congressman from North Luzon, P3 billion in projects for a congressman from the Visayas, and P1 billion for a Congressman from Bicol.

Economic managers met with the group of Appropriations Committee Chair Karlo Nograles, his brother Rep. Jericho Nograles and PBA Party List Rep. Mark Sambar in the office of Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte hours before the plenary deliberations scheduled for 2:00 p.m. 

Media spotted Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte and Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, both members of the opposition, leaving Villafuerte’s office. 

While Belmonte initially declined to talk to media, Quimbo later told reporters who were in the meeting in Villafuerte’s office that Jericho Nograles invited him to the lunch. 

“There's a tug of war now that’s happening between 2 committee reports. It’s not clear to us because we’re in the minority. Maybe they wanted some counsel what to do. I told them too much carbs is not good,” said Quimbo, adding that both committee reports came from the committee on appropriations.

“I think there’s an ongoing discussion on whether the committee on appropriations is going to be replaced or not . Maybe it’s a question of trust. I think it’s a question best addressed to the leadership,” he added.

Another source told ABS-CBN that the economic managers also spoke to Arroyo.