(Eagle News)—The P75 billion which House appropriations chair Rolando Andaya Jr. described as an “insertion” in the proposed national budget would be divided among members of the House of Representatives and some members of the Senate, he admitted on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Andaya’s statement in an interview over radio dzbb is a confirmation of Senator Panfilo Lacson’s earlier claim.
Lacson had said each congressman had been allotted P160 million to supposedly fund their projects.
Some senators, he said, had a total of P23 billion.
On this basis, Lacson, who has been vocal against pork, asked President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the national budget that hurdled the bicameral conference committee.
“Liwanagin ko lang na hindi lang (House) panel ang tumapyas doon. Pati ‘yung Senado. Kasama sila sa pagtapyas ng pondo,” Andaya said.
According to Andaya, “nung nakaraan, may mga distrito na base sa pagboto ng mambatas, kung pumabor o hindi pumabor sa isang panukala, ay nabigyan ng zero, at tiniis ‘yun ng distrito sa isang taon.”
“Ngayon naman, gusto naming pantay-pantay ang pagbigay sa lahat,” Andaya added.
Andaya had accused Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno of being behind the alleged insertion that he said was unknown to the Department of Public Works and Highways and President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Palace, however, stood by Diokno, noting his integrity.
Andaya made the accusations after Lacson said a Camarines Sur district–Andaya’s—and another in Pampanga–Gloria Arroyo’s–had cornered “congressional insertions” in the then-House-proposed national budget.
The House leadership earlier defended the P160 million for each congressman, saying this had been deliberated on even before the enactment of the national budget.