MANILA, Philippines— Senator Panfilo Lacson exposed another last-minute insertions allegedly made by the House of Representatives before the congressional bicameral conference committee signed the 2020 budget Wednesday.
Lacson said the House insertions could reach P83-billion worth of projects, or even more.
“It is revolting to note that legislators keep on dipping their dirty fingers on our national budget in spite of pending cases involving the same issue,” he said in a text message to reporters.
The senator did not attend the bicameral meeting.
And one reason why, he said, was because his office received a USB containing two files— the “Source” file and the “List” file—from the House Tuesday night.
“Our preliminary scrutiny of the last minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345B that were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning,” Lacson also said in his text message.
“Since there is no preliminary explanation from the House regarding the 2 Files, we cannot ascertain if indeed only P16.345B or the bigger amount of P83.219B was inserted at the last minute prior to the bicam signing… What is clear though is that there are still lump sums and vaguely described projects that are now part of the bicam report,” he added.
Lacson said their initial scrutiny showed that the top provinces with huge allocations are the following:
Albay – P670M
Cavite – P580M
Sorsogon – P570M
Bulacan – P440M
Pangasinan – P420M
Cebu – P410M
Lacson also revealed that 117 flood control projects worth P3.179 billion also dominated the alleged insertions “with eight projects uniformly budgeted at P60 million each.”
“There are more corruption-driven insertions in the Files sent to us that I have not mentioned. Thus, we will continue to diligently scrutinize it and inform the Department of Budget and Management and the Office of the President, as I have high hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will again display his aversion to corruption,” he said.
“Pork is here to stay. I hope the President will again exercise his political will in vetoing line items that will obviously waste people’s tax money,” the senator further said.