Duterte is not Arroyo; Lacson ‘pork’ warning misplaced — Diokno
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday said Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s fear of the “pork barrel” system coming back was “misplaced,” after House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said no congressman would receive a zero budget.
Diokno said President Rodrigo Duterte has a “strong” anti-corruption drive and assured the public that the cash-based P3.757-trillon national budget for 2019 was “pork-free.”
Arroyo, who is barely a month into being the new Speaker, earlier said all House members would receive allocations despite their political affiliation.
Lacson raised fears that this move would signal the return of the pork barrel system or the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional.
But Diokno allayed the fear of the senator.
“President Duterte is not GMA. Okay? And he is very strong in [his] anti-corruption [campaign]. So the fear of Senator Lacson is misplaced,” the budget chief said during the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum at the Philippine Daily Inquirer Headquarters in Makati City.
Diokno said “the President has instructed us not to have zero allocation.”
“So there will be no zero allocation,” he said.
Asked if these could be considered as “hidden pork,” he answered, “No, these are projects that are supposed to benefit residents of those districts. They are not pork. They are not pork. Call it any other name but not pork.”
He said the national budget of the Duterte administration has been “consistent with the Supreme Court decisions on Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).”
The Supreme Court in 2015 affirmed the unconstitutionality of DAP. /je
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