House panel begins probe on 2019 budget ‘anomalies’
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, Philippines — The House of Representatives rules committee began on Thursday its investigation into the “anomalies” hounding the proposed P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019.
The panel commenced its first hearing here at 10:20 a.m. at the Avenue Plaza Hotel, Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City, Camarines Sur.
Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr., Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, and Coop Natcco Rep. Anthony Bravo were among the House members who attended the probe.
Consolacion Leoncio, owner of C.T. Leoncio Construction and Trading, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Region V Director Renato De Vera, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region V engineers and other district officials were also here.
Andaya has been accusing Budget Chief Benjamin Diokno of orchestrating the “insertion” of some P75-billion infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the DPWH as well those congressmen whose district would benefit from the programs.
Diokno said the P75 billion should not be called “insertions” as these were “adjustments” which were part of the budget process.
Andaya also bared alleged “flood control scam” and other multi-billion-peso “anomalous” infrastructure projects in Sorsogon province.
He said the P10-billion infrastructure projects allocated by the Department of Budget and Management to Sorsogon in 2018 were mostly cornered by C.T. Leoncio Construction and eventually found their way to the construction firm owned by the in-laws of Diokno.
The Camarines Sur 1sr District congressman bared his exposès after Sen. Panfilo Lacson alleged that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got P2.4 billion in “pork barrel” funds while he got P1.9 billion. Both denied Lacson’s allegations.
Diokno said the Andaya camp was only trying to divert the public’s attention from the “pork barrel” issue. /muf
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