‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon slammed a House member for alleging that he slashed the funding for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and transferred it to his home province of Iloilo.
“It is a complete lie. Mr. Salo is a blabbermouth and a purveyor of fake news,” Drilon said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo.
“A cursory check of the records would disprove the allegations made by Mr. Salo and other members of the House of Representatives today,” he added.
Salo claimed Drilon cut P2.5 billion from the budget allocated for the country’s hosting of the 2019 SEA Games.
“Curiously, however, simultaneous with the P2.5 billion slashed in the SEA Games budget, is the increase in the budget of the various infrastructure projects in Iloilo, by P2.3 billion,” Salo said in a privilege speech at the House of Representatives.
But Drilon, citing the Senate journal dated December 6, 2018, said no senator moved to slash the budget for the SEA Games.
“The P7.5 billion funding for SEA Games that was mysteriously lodged in the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs – that even the Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin disowned – was only transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission,” Drilon pointed out.
“The third reading version of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill passed by the Senate would show that the P7.5 billion budget lodged under the Philippine Sports Commission was intact,” he added.
Drilon said that it was during the bicameral conference committee, which members of the House were a part of, that the SEA Games budget was slashed to P5 billion.
“For the record, it was not I who proposed to slash it to P5 billion during the bicam. The current budget of the SEA Games remains at P6 billion after P1 billion was transferred from the contingent fund,” Drilon said.
The senator added that he was transparent with all of his proposed amendments to the 2019 national budget.
“If only Mr. Salo exercised due diligence, he would have saved himself from embarrassment. But that would be wishful thinking,” he said.