P51.8B ‘insertions’ given to past House leadership allies? Some solons think so
Senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza on Wednesday said the controversial P51.8-billion infrastructure fund was “unjustified allocations” given to the districts of some lawmakers allegedly favored by the leadership of then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
In a press briefing, Atienza and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez lauded the House leadership’s move to realign the said budget initially earmarked for infrastructure programs.
“Nakita na merong mga insertions na napakalaki, unjustifiable, sa ilang mga distritong pinili ng dating majority. ‘Yun ang pinanggalingan ng kanilang gusot,” Atienza said.
“Tama si Andaya (House Majority Leader) dahil inaalis nya ‘yung insertions dun sa budget bago namin talakayin. He was not putting in a pork barrel fund, he was removing unjustified allocations in certain districts of some favored members of Congress,” he added.
In a Tuesday interview over Radyo Inquirer, Suarez said the previous leadership could have had a hand on this amount “inserted” into the proposed 2019 national budget.
“Mukhang meron silang (previous leadership) participation but to what extent hindi ko alam kung gaano kalalim,” he said.
But Alvarez has denied the allegations of Atienza and Suarez.
“I do not know what they are talking about. It was programmed by the executive branch!” Alvarez told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
Meanwhile, the minority bloc has also expressed fears that the same scheme has happened during the first two years of the Duterte administration.
The realignment of funds to other state projects came Tuesday after lawmakers bickered over the alleged P55 billion “insertion” in the budget of some congressmen.
The constitution of the House as a committee of the whole was aimed to resolve the dispute over the P55 billion alleged “pork” by amending House Bill No. 8169 or the proposed 2019 General Appropriation Act.
It was found out however that the P55 billion was actually P51,792,022, which was initially earmarked for various regional projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways.
But opposition lawmakers have slammed the almost P52 billion worth of funds as pork barrel and lump sum – which Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. belied.
INQUIRER.net has reached former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas for comment but he has yet to respond as of posting time. /kga
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