Zubiri: We have ‘institutional insertions,’ not P200M budget
Senators don’t have a P200-million allocation in the 2019 budget, but Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri admitted that “all of us have institutional insertions.”
Zubiri was reacting to the reported P200-million budget that each senator would get next year for their pet projects.
At a regular forum at the Senate on Thursday, the senator was asked if the proposed projects worth P200 million.
“No,” Zubiri quickly said, “ Well, of course, all of us have institutional insertions.”
He explained that “institutional insertions” are amendments they propose for certain projects such as, for instance, an additional budget for the construction of an airport in Mindanao.
These amendments, Zubiri said, are done in the budgeting process every year.
“So this year is no different,” he pointed out.
Asked if the “institutional insertions” are not in violation of the Supreme Court ruling on “pork barrel,” the Majority Leader said: “No kasi may approval naman ng department iyan e (No because it has the approval of the department).”
Zubiri also denied Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr.’s earlier claim that each senator has a P200-million allotment compared to only the P60-million budget for each member of the House of Representatives.
“Senator Loren has never given us a figure,” he said, referring to Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance.
“Senator Loren Legarda has never approached us to say: “Uy meron kang P200, [or] 300 million. She never says that to us,” Zubiri stressed.
He said they can identify funding for certain projects but always with the approval of a department.
Asked then if that means lawmakers indeed have “discretion” over how the budget would be spent, Zubiri said: “Guys, the Constitution is very clear, the power of the purse is with Congress and Senate.”
“E kung wala, para ke pa nating dadalhin dito? E dapat pag nilabas na ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) yung budget, yun na…” he added. /ee