Lacson’s claims regarding pork ‘baseless, fictional’ — Villafuerte
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. on Wednesday slammed as “baseless and fictional” Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s claim that he was behind the bid to insert “pork” to the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020.
The Camarines Sur 2nd District representative said it was unfair for Lacson to single him out with such a “baseless” claim and “try to malign [him] with a report that’s fictional and a product of imagination and far from reality.”
“I fully supported his crusade against pork in the past and continue to support him now and in the future. I, however, would like to emphasize and firmly deny the claim that it was my idea to add P1.5 billion to each deputy speaker as completely baseless and fictional,” he added in a statement.
Villafuerte said the Senate is free to scrutinize the 2020 General Appropriations Bill they passed last Friday. He reiterated Speaker Alan Cayetano’s remark that the proposed expenditure plan is free of any illegal pork and insertions.
Lacson earlier said some congressmen told him that the 22 deputy speakers of the House would get an additional allocation of P1.5 billion each — a claim he said has to be verified. On Tuesday, however, he said the House canceled its alleged attempt to allot “pork” for House members.
Villafuerte’s Chief of Staff (COS) Atty. James Anthony Mina also called Lacson’s claim as “erroneous.”
Mina said Villafuerte moved on Aug. 28 for the withdrawal of the GAB’s filing on first reading, only because he believed then that it was prematurely endorsed by the House appropriations committee without completing the panel deliberations on the proposed budget of all government offices.
The COS also said Lacson made the accusations to advance his personal agenda.
“It saddens us that Senator Lacson has failed to exercise due diligence and do the math before making any allegation just to advance whatever personal agenda he had in mind at the expense of the current House leadership,” Mina said.
“He should have been very circumspect as he has been before in making such a claim that is so untrue and so damaging to the House as an institution and to all of its members,” he added. /je
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