Lacson: Kickbacks from P75B ‘pork’ peddled to contractors
MANILA, Philippines – A 20 percent commission per project from the P75 billion “pork” was already allegedly peddled to contractors even before Congress could approve the 2019 national budget.
Senator Panfilo Lacson disclosed this on Friday in a privilege speech titled “To See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.”
“Just very recently, during last Wednesday evening’s caucus to be exact, a valid source had a word in our ears that the P75 billion had been earlier peddled to contractors across the country, region by region, at a 20% commission per project cost,” Lacson bared.
“That would be a sum of P15 billion worth of taxpayers’ money to the pockets of its proponents and cohorts,” he said.
After scrutinizing the budget, Lacson said he discovered that P11 billion of the P75 billion came from the “notoriously corrupt” Motor Vehicle User Charge (MVUC).
The P75 billion he was referring to was the budget added to the 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar earlier admitted that he was not aware of the additional P75 billion budget of the agency until he saw the National Expenditure Program.
During budget deliberations at the Senate, Lacson said they reduced the DPWH’s budget by P60. 937 billion.
“Unfortunately, Mr. President, the net change in the second reading version of the Senate for the DPWH budget is only P37.650 billion,” he said.
“This is because P23.286 billion worth of new projects were introduced in the DPWH budget during the second reading of the Senate version,” the senator added
Lacson noted that the Senate has only 23 members.
“To a suspicious public, we could all be complicit in introducing our own pork to the budget of the DPWH. If split up in metaphoric “hating-kapatid,” this will amount to more than P1 billion per senator,” he said.
“But since I am absolutely sure that I have not availed of any portion of the P23.2 billion, and I have knowledge that quite a number of our colleagues likewise did not partake of whatever slice there was from that P23.2-billion “pizza pie,” ergo, some members of this chamber must be smarter and luckier than the others.”
The senator earlier claimed that not only the House of Representatives but also some of his colleagues in the Senate had inserted P23 billion in the budget.
“As to the recent claim of Congressman Andaya about the P3-billion pork allocation per senator, huwag po natin siyang paniwalaan dahil sadyang napakalayo sa katotohanan ang kanyang komputasyon,” Lacson said.
(Let us not believe him because the truth belies his computation.)
He was referring to Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya’s allegation that the bulk of the P75 billion “pork” would go to 23 senators, who would allegedly get at least P3 billion each in government projects.
The remaining the remaining P5 billion of P75 billion, Andaya said, would be shared by 292 congressmen. /gsg
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