MANILA (UPDATE) - At least two lawmakers are said to have cornered bulk of congressional insertions under the General Appropriations bill for 2019, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
Lacson, who made the expose during the first day of budget debate centering on the “general principles,” showed a slide of at least two lawmakers, one from Camarines Sur and from Pampanga.
The first was a male lawmaker from Camarines Sur who started with an insertion of P360 million to P405 million but ended with P1.906,306 billion “total amount of projects."
The second congresswoman started with P726,710,000 “projects as approved on second reading” but wrapped up with a total amount of projects of P2,424,819,000.
Lacson later on showed a slide of a portion of the female legislator’s identified projects with those so-called insertions which include the municipalities of Lubao, Guagua, and Porac which are all located in the second district of Pampanga.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the district representative of Pampanga.
Lacson had refused to directly identify Arroyo as the lawmaker he was alluding to, telling reporters to ferret it out from the records which was just forwarded by the lower house to the Senate.
Lacson said he is not also confirming that the other lawmaker is Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr.
He said what is he pointing out is the absence of consultations with the implementing agency, as emphasized by the Supreme Court ruling on the Priority Development Assistance Fund.
“Maraming provisions sa SC ruling, maski hindi post enactment pwede pa ring pork. Basically pag may grave abuse of discretion," he said.
"If you realign funds from certain agencies to another agency within the agency, but realign the fund to another agency or another project without consultation to the agency or agencies na magi-implement, wouldn’t that constitute grave abuse of discretion?”
House Appropriations Committee Senior Vice Chair Maria Carmen Zamora, meanwhile, disputed the figures released by Lacson to Senate media.
”Personally I do not know where the good senator got his figures because when I checked all our records I don't see any congressperson na may ganung kalaking increase when you compare the NEP (National Expenditure Program) to the 3rd reading version natin sa Congress. so ako mismo di ko rin alam saan galing yung mga figures na yun," she said.
Zamora denied that Arroyo’s district got a windfall because of the House. The district already got a big allocation in the National Expenditure Program, which is the original budget proposal of the President.
“Hindi naman nabuhusan ng proyekto kasi based on records wala namang ganun kalaking increase," she said. --With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News