Duterte dared to junk pork; Lacson confident he will
MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte must use his veto powers to cleanse the 2019 budget of pork allocations if he wants fair elections in May, Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“[The 2019 budget controversy] is not just an issue of corruption but of subversion of the electoral process because the playing field is not level in a pork-ridden elections,” he said.
Colmenares said the President should strike out unconstitutional provisions in the budget, especially pork barrel items that have tilted the elections in favor of incumbent officials vying for a fresh mandate.
“Incumbent congressman and senator have an edge because they have the pork barrel funds at their disposal,” he added.
The Bayan Muna chair said that aside from the P95 billion allotted for the Department of Public Works and Highways, congressmen and senators have also “parked” their pork barrel funds in other agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, and the Commission on Higher Education.
“The President should issue an executive order stating that referrals and proposals from congressmen and senators can be disregarded by executive officials without fear of retaliation,” Colmenares said.
In the Senate, Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed confidence that Duterte would veto the House of Representatives’ postratification realignments in the proposed 2019 budget, as allowing these projects to continue could lead to a waste of public funds. —REPORTS FROM MELVIN GASCON AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA
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