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Suarez denies ‘pork’ insertion in 2019 budget

/ 01:57 PM September 18, 2018

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez on Tuesday denied that the alleged “P55 billion insertion” in the proposed 2019 budget was a form of “pork barrel” or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which had been declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.

READ: House leaders bicker over ‘pork’

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“We will not confirm the fact that there’s PDAF because that’s illegal. Ang sinasabi ko lang na ‘yung presented expenditure program ng bawat ahensya, March pa lang ginagawa na nila…” Suarez said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer.

“Pero meron dung mga naka-line item na hindi alam ng Cabinet, ng mga ibat ibang ahensya. Kahit kami nagtataka paano nakalusot ito. Kaya merong mga influence peddling na nangyari dahil sa hindi alam nung (lawmakers)… tapos nitong bandang huli there were some admission … iko-correct namin lahat ‘yun,” he continued.

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Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday insinuated that an attempt to slash the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget of some P55 billion in “pork” had caused a conflict among some members of the House of Representatives.

“We missed the near-brawl over ‘pork’ in the House caucus this morning. Watch for new developments affecting a major committee,” he wrote on Twitter.

Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. earlier said the House would look into these “misplaced” “insertions” which were complained by some congressmen.

“Paunti-unti nagrereklamo on the matter until we got to the point na we can no longer discount as tsismis,” he said. “There are allocations there that seem to be misplaced. Can we please look at it and not pass it.”

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But both Andaya and Suarez cannot confirm if the insertions would total to P55 billion.

“That’s speculative,” Suarez said, adding that the chamber would “correct” these “insertions” in the plenary.

Andaya, in a text message to INQUIRER.net meanwhile assured that the House leadership would make these “allocations” in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s agenda.

“Nothing to do about insertions, but certain re (regarding) allocations will be made in line w (with) prrd (Duterte’s initials) agenda,” he said.

The slated House plenary debates on the proposed 2019 budget were stalled on Monday due to a conflict among several lawmakers and claims of the P55 billion worth of “insertions” in the budget of some lawmakers.

READ: ‘Insertions,’ brewing conflict delay House plenary debates on 2019 budget

The lower chamber adjourned at 4:45 p.m. and the scheduled plenary debates for the 2019 budget did not push through. /muf

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TAGS: 2019 budget, news, PDAF, Philippine News, ‎pork barrel, Suarez
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