Sotto vows Senate won't 'soft-pedal' on Villar, DPWH budget | Inquirer News
Even if DPWH Secretary's mom is senator

Sotto vows Senate won’t ‘soft-pedal’ on Villar, DPWH budget

/ 11:44 AM October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippine — The Senate will not “soft-pedal” in the scrutiny of the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Public Ways and Highways (DPWH) even if its head, Secretary Mark Villar, is the son of a senator, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.

“We will not soft pedal on the DPWH, at saka knowing [Senator] Cynthia [Villar], hinahayaan naman niya e. I’ve seen it in the past. Ang daming interpellations sa DPWH hindi naman siya nangaawat. Hindi nangaaway, hindi nanggaawat,” Sotto said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.


(We will not soft pedal on DPWH and knowing Cynthia, she just lets it be. I’ve seen it in the past. The DPWH has gone through a lot of interpellations and she does not interfere. She does not fight anybody, she does not stop the questioning.)


During every budget season, the DPWH faces thorough scrutiny as alleged lump sum appropriations under its budget are continuously being flagged by lawmakers.

One of them is Senator Panfilo Lacson, who for this year’s budget said he found nearly P400-billion alleged lump sumps lodged under the budget of the DPWH’s central office.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has noted alleged corruption in the DPWH, saying that no infrastructure project will start without any under-the-table deals.

He repeated his corruption claims in another recorded speech, but cleared Villar of wrongdoing as he argued that the Secretary is already rich and does not need to pocket government funds.

The Commission on Audit also recently flagged DPWH’s delayed and unimplemented projects amounting to P101.690 billion.

Sotto is also confident that senators will be able to sift through the budget to flag any questionable appropriation.


The Senate received Tuesday afternoon the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), containing the proposed national budget for 2021, approved by the House of Representatives.

“Itong pagdating ng GAB, kitang-kita na nila kaagad yung diperensya [from the National Expenditure Program]. Makikita na talaga nila at madali nang alamin. Pagdating sa DPWH, palagay ko yung aming Committee on Finance [chair], si Senator [Sonny] Angara will not mince words if they find something sticking out like a sore thumb in the budget,” Sotto went on.

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(When it comes to GAB, they will be able to spot any difference from the National Expenditure Program. They will see it and it’s easy to spot. When it comes to the DPWH, I think our Committee on Finance chair Senator Sonny Angara will not mince words if they find something sticking out like a sore thumb in the budget.)

“And then of course we have Senator Lacson who has been scrutinizing most of the lump sums…Hopefully ‘pag labas samin walang lump sum, [when it comes out of the Senate, there’s no lump sum],” he added.

TAGS: budget, Nation, News, Senate

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