Duterte wants Arroyo to explain alleged P2.4-B ‘pork’ – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants to hear the explanation of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the alleged pork barrel insertions in the proposed 2019 national budget, Malacañang said Monday.
“He (Duterte) said that there will be some explanation on the part of Speaker Arroyo and others. So let’s hear them,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing when asked about the President’s stand on the supposed budget insertions.
Earlier, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that the funds were allocated to Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who received P2.4 billion worth of projects, and House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., P1.9 billion, for their respective districts.
Lacson said the P4.3-billion fund allotted to the legislative districts of Arroyo and Andaya was pork.
Panelo, however, claimed that Arroyo has already reached out to him and explained that the items originated from different government agencies and not from lawmakers.
“Contrary to the allegation of pork barrel, they (lawmakers) said that this time there were items and these items were given by different agencies. In other words, prior to the approval they’ve been there, unlike the pork barrel where there is no specific item where it will go,” Panelo said.
This prompted the House of Representatives to summon Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to explain the supposed insertions of some P52 billion for certain legislative districts, which lawmakers had blamed for the delay in the approval of the proposed P3.8-trillion national budget for 2019.
However, Diokno, in an interview at the Senate earlier, insisted that there were no insertions in the budget. He also said that it was the House, and not the Department of Management and Budget, that made changes in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“There are no insertions, I can say that,” he said in an interview at the Senate. “Bukas I will appear sa House, sa Question Hour. I will answer these questions.”
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