Malacañang to let Congress scrutinize 2019 budget amid allegation of ‘pork’
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday vowed to let Congress do the necessary review on the 2019 national budget amid allegations of billions worth of insertions.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark after House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya claimed that the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) was prepared during the time of ousted House leader Pantaleon Alvarez, whom Speaker Gloria Arroyo replaced in July.
“While we respect the separation of powers and independence of the different branches of government, the Executive Branch, in no unequivocal terms, will not countenance any violation of our laws governing the budget, especially with regard to matters concerning our people’s hard-earned money,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We leave it to Congress to scrutinize, review and deliberate on the budget and make the necessary corrections, amendments or adjustments to ensure that all constituents, regardless of districts and political or party affiliations of lawmakers, are given equal opportunity for growth, progress and access to services,” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier disclosed that the lion’s share of the insertions were allocated to certain House members, among them were Arroyo, who received P2.4 billion worth of projects, and Andaya, P1.9 billion, for their respective districts.
Andaya, however, said that top honchos in the previous House leadership receive multi-billion worth of allocations in the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
Andaya said Alvarez, former Davao City Rep. and now Cabinet Sec. Karlo Alexei Nograles and former Majority Floor Leader and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas were among the legislators who topped the list with huge chunks of budget allocations from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Alvarez, Nograles and Fariñas were among President Duterte’s known ally at the House of Representatives.
Fariñas and Alvarez have already denied the accusation of Andaya.