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NATIONAL EXPENDITURE PROGRAM

Lacson welcomes fresh allegations of budget realignments

/ 05:32 AM December 13, 2018

After exposing the multibillion-peso pork in the proposed P3.8-trillion budget for 2019, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he was “enjoying” the emergence of fresh allegations that more lawmakers had been given even bigger allocations for their districts and that a favored contractor cornered prime government projects.

Lacson said these indicated that more people were watching the budget process now.

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“Let’s put it this way: I’m enjoying this. Wasn’t I asked before if what I’m doing was useless, if I’m just tiring myself out?” he told reporters.

“I said then that it would be enough if they become conscious that there is a vanguard or watchdog for the tinkering of the budget. That would be enough to tell myself that what I’m doing is useful.”

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More issues

This time, he said, the discussions are centered not only on realignments, but also on possible excesses in the preparation of the national expenditure program.

At least now, the irregular practices are being noticed and pointed out, according to Lacson.

“More issues might come out and we should continue to scrutinize the abuses concerning the national budget,” he said.

In the House of Representatives, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the district of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, the former Speaker, was allocated P5 billion for various projects.

The district of former Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, who has since been appointed secretary to the Cabinet, was given P4 billion in projects, while that of  Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, the former majority leader, were allocated P3.5 billion.

Alvarez and Fariñas said they were not involved in the preparation of the national budget.

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Benefactors

Andaya also alleged that Cabinet members were benefactors of  CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, the contractor that bagged billions of pesos worth of infrastructure projects.

Lacson said he did not consider these part of efforts to divert attention from his earlier exposé that the Pampanga district of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got P2.4 billion in projects while the district of Camarines Sur Representative Andaya got P1.9 billion.

“I could not say absolutely that this is a diversion because the issue has gotten bigger so that we could expand our examination of the national budget,” he said.

“I am happy that related issues that we could link together are coming out. The bottom line is that we should fix the national budget,” Lacson added.

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TAGS: 2019 national budget, budget insertions, budget realignments, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Panfilo Lacson, Pantaleon Alvarez, pork insertions, Rodolfo Fariñas, Rolando Andaya Jr.
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