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At budget hearing, Paje says Legarda had no pork in Philforest

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MANILA, Philippines—Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Friday said Sen. Loren Legarda isn’t on the list of lawmakers that channeled millions of pesos in pork barrel fund entitlements to the Philippine Forest Corp. (Philforest) that is already being lined by the administration up for abolition.

Paje made the remark during the department’s presentation before the Senate committee on finance of its proposed P23.4-billion share in the P2.26-trillion national budget for 2014.

Legarda’s subcommittee heard and endorsed to plenary the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) budget proposal on Friday as well as that of the Climate Change Commission worth P80.8 million.

“Just for the record, I have no PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] in the Philforest.  Because there were those that wrote on the issue, just to be clear,” Legarda told Paje.

“On the record, Madame Chair, I have seen the list. There is no Sen. Loren Legarda on the list,” Paje confimed.

Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan reported to the Senate blue ribbon committee weeks ago that two more senators will be mentioned in a report on a more recent audit on the use of the PDAF channeled through Philforest.

There were news reports that Legarda was among the lawmakers that channeled their PDAF to Philforest, a government corporation under the jurisdiction of the DENR.

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Tags: Loren Legarda , Philforest , Philippine Forest Corp. , Pork barrel , Ramon Paje

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