Arroyo: I did not micromanage 2019 nat’l budget
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has once again distanced herself from allegations that she was behind the changes made in the proposed 2019 national budget to allegedly favor her allies in the lower chamber, stressing that she did not “micromanage” the spending bill.
“Nonoy (House appropriations panel chair Rolando Andaya Jr.) has been saying that over and over again. The budget is the work of the appropriations committee and the bicameral panel,” Arroyo told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the 32 Biennial Convention of the FFCCCII where she was invited as the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the Manila Hotel on Friday.
“I think (Congressmen) Fred Castro and Nonoy Andaya and Edcel Lagman have already been setting the record straight they were the ones who worked on the budget not me and they have been setting the record straight,” she added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson had accused Arroyo of unlawfully funneling nearly P95 billion in infrastructure funds to the districts of her allies after Congress had ratified the final version of the budget this year, including P2.5 million each for an overpriced ambulance.
Budget impasse to end soon
The Pampanga representative also vowed not to “micromanage” Andaya, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, and San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora in negotiating with the senators to break the budget impasse.
“We’ll end the impasse as soon as possible that’s my instruction. I did not micromanage the putting together of the budget. I don’t want to micromanage also their negotiations because the ones who did the budget know what they did and know what their flexibilities are,” she said.
The Senate and the House have finally agreed to sit down and discuss the future of the budget bill on Monday, March 25, according to Zamora.
This came after the lower chamber recalled on Wednesday its version of the spending measure that was sent to Senate last March 11.
It remains to be seen, however, if the House would agree with the Senate’s position, and abandon their stand on itemizing portions of the General Appropriations Bill even after it was already ratified on February 8. /kga
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