Villafuerte blames speakership row in ‘hearsay’ claims of DPWH funding | Inquirer News

Villafuerte blames speakership row in ‘hearsay’ claims of DPWH funding

/ 01:03 AM September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte slammed claims that some districts, including his, got a bigger share of public works funding.

Villafuerte, in a statement, decried the assertions of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who supposedly said during the budget hearing of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that Camarines Sur and Taguig will be getting P11.8 billion and P8 billion worth of projects, respectively, but in the same breath, branded the allegations as mere “hearsay.”


Taguig is the legislative turf of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife, Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano.

Teves claimed that it is well bigger than his district’s P2 billion share, despite supposedly having the eighth highest absorptive capacity or the percentage of projects being enacted and completed.


“In the first place, it does not befit an honorable gentleman like Congressman Teves to act like a blab or gossipmonger in spreading what he himself had admitted to be plain hearsay,” Villafuerte said.

“Why peddle something malicious that he himself knew wasn’t factual in the guise of making an observation in a congressional hearing that would actually sully the collective reputation of certain peers in the House as well as that of the leadership of the DPWH?” he asked.

During the House committee on appropriations’ hearing on Thursday, Teves grilled DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, asking him what the basis is for giving some districts a higher allocation. Villar did not confirm whether Teves’ allocation claims for Camarines Sur and Taguig were true, but vowed to submit documents later on.

“Are they personalities? Party affiliation? Position? Or others, please elaborate and specify,” Teves asked.

But for Villafuerte, this line of questioning allegedly reveals the plan hatched by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s camp, to disturb the current leadership’s track to pass the 2021 budget ahead of time.

Velasco was one of the front-runners in the 2019 House speakership race, along with Cayetano.  To avoid division within his allies, President Rodrigo Duterte struck a term-sharing deal among the contenders, where Cayetano got to be Speaker for the first 15 months and Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

“It is clear as day that Congressman Teves has launched this chicanery on the basis of mere hearsay as part of the sinister ploy hatched by the Velasco camp, in cahoots with former Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, to wreck Speaker Cayetano’s commitment to fast-track the approval of the 2021 GAA,” Villafuerte said.


Villafuerte then turned the tables on Teves, urging him to explain why his province has P2 billion worth of funds when other districts have smaller allocations. The former also noted that Camarines Sur is made up of five districts, which means that if the P11.8 billion budget is divided, it would yield an amount near to what Teves’ district gets.

“Secondly, what is Congressman Teves yakking about? In case he didn’t know it when he delivered his litany at the committee hearing, CamSur has five districts. So assuming it were true that CamSur has P11.8 billion in DPWH funds under the proposed 2021 GAA, that is almost the same amount, when divided among five CamSur districts, as the P2 billion that he himself revealed was set aside by the  DPWH for his district in Negros Oriental,” he claimed.

“So what harm has been done to him and to his legislative district when it is getting P2 billion-worth of  public works projects?” he asked.

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, Congress, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, House of Representatives, Negros Oriental, Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., Rep. Lani Cayetano., Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, Secretary Mark Villar, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Speakership race, Taguig, term-sharing agreement
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