Alleged insertions in 2019 budget 'impossible,' says appropriations body chair

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2018 12:14 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2018 12:53 PM

MANILA - It is "impossible" for lawmakers to place insertions in the 2019 budget, House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles said Wednesday.

Some congressmen have alleged that P55 billion in lump sums were inserted in the 2019 Department of Public Works and Highways budget for some 30 lawmakers allied with former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

A P530-billion budget was allocated for DPWH, but its head, Sec. Mark Villar said he asked for only P485 billion.

"It is impossible for any insertion to be done because that [budget] purely comes from the executive," Nograles said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

"We just accept what is submitted to us by the executive," he said.

ACT Teacher's Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio refuted Nograles' claims and said that "bulk" of the excess DPWH budget was being parked for insertions, or those that have no specific allocations.

"These are classic pork barrel projects. These are lumpsums at the moment, walang line-by-line allocation," Tinio said.

"The fact that they have been included in the budget submitted by Malacañang means there is approval and support of these pet projects coming from Congress," he said.

Nograles said it was possible for lawmakers and other local officials to "recommend" projects that need to be funded in their respective districts and provinces.

The Supreme Court in 2013 declared Congress' discretionary funds or "pork barrel" as unconstitutional.