Lacson bares one district to get P500M for farm to market roads
MANILA, Philippines– Senator Panfilo Lacson bared on Wednesday that a P500 million budget has been allotted for farm-to market-roads project of one district alone.
Lacson made the disclosure during the Senate’s plenary discussion on the 2019 national budget.
“I don’t know who’s from Lubao Mr. President,” the senator said as he showed on the floor the list of alleged recipients of the project.
He was apparently referring to Lubao municipality in Pampanga, which happens to be the home province of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Lacson mentioned about the project when he questioned the billions of pesos that were allegedly allotted to pet projects of two lawmakers, who he did not identify.
In the National Expenditure Program, Lacson said, a congressman was already allotted P360 million while a congresswoman had P726 million.
But when the proposed General Appropriations Bill (GAB) was approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives, Lacson said the congressman got an additional P1.545 billion budget while the congresswoman received P1.698 billion more.
He said the congressman got a total of P1.906 billion while the congresswoman received a total of P2.242 billion.
“My question is, is this pork or not?” Lacson asked Senator Loren Legarda, who was defending the national budget as chair of the Senate committee on finance.
Legarda explained that since Congress has the power of the purse, lawmakers have the right to realign, transfer or augment the budget of a particular agency or district.
“It is the power of the purse so may may karapatan silang maglipat, magtanggal, magdagdag ayon sa tingin nila na karapatdapat sa ahensya or sa distrito,” Legarda said.
“Pero hindi po para sa kanilang projects, Mr. President,” Lacson said to which Legarda agreed.
At this point, Lacson mentioned about the P500 million budget for one district.
“P500M in farm to market roads alone in one district. Malulunod sila dun Mr. President,” he said.
“Baka pinapasemento na ang mga bundok,” Legarda said in jest.
“My point here is grave abuse of discretion… tapos sasabihin nila walang pork?” Lacson went on.
The senator then asked that these insertions be deleted. /muf
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