MANILA— Ousted Speaker Taguig-Pateros 1st district Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday called for transparency as he claimed lawmakers who pushed for his ouster received huge increases in next year's spending plan.
The Senate passed the proposed 2021 budget on Thursday, more than a month after the House transmittal, paving the way for the bicameral conference committee to reconcile both versions.
Cayetano said lawmakers who spoke against him--those allied with House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco--received "between P300 million to (sic) P1 billion."
"Nadagdagan na sila from the House to the Senate kaya pala atat na atat na nung October 14 na before that mag-takeover kasi nga may mga pondong pinag-uusapan," he told reporters.
(Their districts' budgets increased from the House to the Senate. That was why they were so eager to take over before October 14.)
“So ang proposal ko para maiwasan na 'yung batuhan ng putik tapos hindi naman totoo, bago i-approve ang bicam, makita ng sambayanan saan inilagay 'yung pondo."
(My proposal to reduce mudslinging, make public the proposed budget before it is approved.)
Velasco replaced Cayetano on Oct. 13 as the latter was ousted as he sought to extend his stint at the House helm even as their term-sharing agreement was due. The power scuffle imperiled the timely passage of the spending bill.
Cayetano said his allies were among those who got the least in the 2021 budget.
“Ang ginawang isyu sa akin, lahat daw ng nakadikit daw sa akin, malaki pondo," he said.
(They claimed all my allies had huge funds.)
"Yun pong sinasabi na masyadong malaki pondo, sa CamSur, na tinamaan ngayon ng bagyo, ni wala siya sa Top 10, number 14 siya."
(The one from CamSur, which was hit by a typhoon, was not even among the top 10 with the highest budget, he was 14th.)
Cayetano claim 'impossible'
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Eric Go Yap on Wednesday disputed the claim, saying no one touched the proposed budget except him and urged lawmakers to check the bill.
"Malabong mangyari na nakakuha ng mataas na allocation pagdating sa GAB (General Appropriations Bill) 'yung mga allies ni Speaker (Lord Allan) Velasco," he said.
(It's impossible that Speaker Velasco's allies got a high allocation in the GAB.)
"Ang pinasok ko lang na amendments diyan ay agency-initiated or 'yung mga amendments ng agencies lang. 'Yung mga congressman na gustong magpadagdag, wala namang lumapit sa akin and hindi ko rin papayagan kung mayroon man.”
(The only amendments I made were agency-initiated. There were no lawmakers who approached me and asked me for an increase and I would not have agreed if there were any.)
Velasco has yet to address the issue as of posting.
-- Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News