Solons running in 2019 polls want road users’ tax in campaign kitty –Diokno
MANILA, Philippines —Lawmakers seeking election in the 2019 midterm elections are looking to use the road users’ tax to cover campaign expenses, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said Wednesday.
Diokno, who figured in a standoff between some lawmakers over the alleged irregularities in the 2019 national budget, even claimed that some Congressmen approached him to ask about the release of the road users’ tax, officially called the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC).
“Alam naman ‘nyo, election time na. Inaasahan nila ata ‘yung road users’ (tax) na ma-release para sa kampanya, but I tell you, we will not release (it),” Diokno said in a Palace briefing.
“Marami nang lumapit sa ‘kin. I won’t name names, tinatanong (nila ang) status ng road users’ tax. Sabi ko, hindi ko re-release until that issue on the Road Board is settled,” he added.
Diokno also said that the Commission on Audit earlier found that P90.7 billion worth of road users’ tax had been “misappropriated” during the time of former President and now Speaker Gloria Arroyo, most of which were under House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez as head of the Road Board.
Created in June 2000, the Road Board is composed of the secretaries of public works and highways, transportation, budget and management and finance as ex officio members, and three representatives from private transport organizations.
The Road Board controls the proceeds of the road user’s tax, which motorists pay yearly for the registration of their vehicles.
A bill abolishing the graft-ridden board was earlier passed by Congress, but the lower chamber recently revoked its approval when Arroyo assumed leadership.
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte will sign the bill abolishing the Road Board even if Congress moved to rescind it. /muf
READ: Duterte to abolish Road Board — Palace
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