Arroyo alloted P60M to each lawmakers’ pet projects
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Wednesday admitted that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had directed the allotment of at least P60 million worth of government projects for each of the 292 members of the House of Representatives.
But contrary to the claim of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Andaya said the funds were not pork barrel as these were not lump sum appropriations, which the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional in 2014.
Andaya also maintained that the projects were listed in the “line item” budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management.
“As what the Speaker earlier said, she wanted an equitable distribution of [people’s money] to all congressional districts,” Andaya told a press briefing.
Defending Arroyo’s decision, Andaya noted that some legislative districts did not get funding during the Aquino administration supposedly due to their political affiliation.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday expressed optimism that questions over pork funds in the 2019 budget bill would not delay the measure.
Zubiri said senators also had “institutional insertions” in the budget, which included funding for projects.
But he said senators would not be given a P200-million budget for this, as Andaya claimed, and were only asked to provide institutional amendments.
“If we don’t have that, then why bring the budget [to the Senate]? Zubiri said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum. —MARLON RAMOS AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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