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Villafuerte told: Explain why gov’t has to shoulder P420-M CamSur capitol construction

/ 03:04 PM September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte should explain to the Filipino people why the national government has to shoulder the construction of his district’s Provincial Capitol that costs over P420 million.

Former Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez said this after Villafuerte dragged him into the speakership row that stemmed from a lawmaker’s query about Camarines Sur’s supposed hefty allocation in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) 2021 budget.

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During DPWH’s budget briefing before the House appropriations committee, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. claimed that Camarines Sur has been allotted a hefty P11.8 billion for infrastructure projects, while Taguig City would get P8 billion.

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

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But Villafuerte, one of Cayetano’s top allies, said Teves’ questioning 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.

Under the term-sharing deal brokered by President Duterte, Cayetano would serve as Speaker for 15 months before Velasco replaces him and lead Congress for 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.

But Benitez turned the tables on Villafuerte, asking him to: “Put your money where your mouth is.”

“You accuse Cong. Teves of making accusations based on hearsay but what you are doing is worse. Totally baseless and a figment of your overactive and DEFENSIVE imagination,” Benitez said in a statement.

“If you have nothing to hide, explain to the Filipino people why the national government has to shoulder the construction of your Provincial Capitol that costs more then P420M?” he added.

The former lawmaker stressed that it is only right that Filipinos demand answers from Villafuerte, especially now that the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“If the good Congressman is morally certain that his budget will pass the public’s scrutiny, then prove us all wrong. Be transparent with your own district’s budget. Account for every peso and centavo,” Benitez said. [ac]

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TAGS: 2021 budget, Albee Benitez, Congress, dpwh, LRay Villafuerte, Philippines, Pork
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