MANILA - Allies of new House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco had "noticeable" increases in the budgets of their congressional districts while those allied with former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano got deductions, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
Cayetano was ousted as Speaker last month, and Velasco assumed the post ahead of the final approval of the General Appropriations Bill that was transmitted to the Senate.
"Noticeable ito, na 'yung mga malalapit sa bagong Speaker, mayroong naka-register na mga increases at 'yung mga malalapit sa dating Speaker, 'yun ang naka-experience naman ng reduction. What else can you conclude?" Lacson told ANC's Headstart.
(It was noticeable that those who are close to the new Speaker registered an increase and those close to the former Speaker experienced a reduction. What else can you conclude?)
Among those with reduced budget was Camarines Sur, which is represented by former Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, who was allied with Cayetano, he said.
Meanwhile, the provinces of Albay and Benguet were allocated with additional funds, he said.
"At the very least it’s improper because the disparity in the distribution of funds to the different districts, makikita nating masyadong malawak—from a high of P15.351 billion to a low of P620 million," Lacson said.
Cayetano's own Taguig district was untouched, probably "out of respect or deference" to the former Speaker, he said.
This may still be reviewed in the bicameral conference, where lawmakers from both houses of Congress will meet to finalize the budget proposal to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, he said.