Velasco allies get ‘noticeable’ 2021 budget hikes, as Cayetano allies receive cuts
MANILA, Philippines — There was a “noticeable” increase in the budget of lawmakers allied with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, and cuts in those linked with his predecessor, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano , in the proposed national budget for 2021.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said this Wednesday, saying that congressmen interfered in the aportionment of the lump sum appropriations under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget.
“That’s the reason why may mga na-register na increases and decreases when the leadership changed in the House of Representatives,” Lacson said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
(That’s the reason why there were increases and decreases when the leadership changed in the House of Representatives.)
“Evidently, noticeable ito, na yung mga malalapit sa bagong Speaker, mayroong naka-register na mga increases at yung mga malalapit sa dating Speaker, `yun ang naka-experience naman ng reduction,” he added.
(This was evident and noticeable that those close to the Speaker had increases while those close to the former speaker suffered reductions.)
Lacson said among those who received budget cuts was Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, a known close ally of Cayetano who was ousted as House Speaker back in October.
Cayetano was replaced by Velasco following a gruelling speakership row between the two lawmakers.
“I don’t recall anymore but definitely na-reduce yung Camarines Sur (Camarines Sur’s budget was reduced),” Lacson said.
“Ang mga nadagdagan ‘yung provinces like Albay, Benguet, ‘yan yung mga–because Benguet ang caretaker congressman, the caretaker district representative there is the appropriations committee chair of the House,” the senator added.
(Provinces like Albay and Benguet had increases because the caretaker district representative of Benguet is the appropriations committee chair of the House.)
But what happened to the budget of Cayetano’s district? Lacson said it was unchanged “probably out of respect or deference” to the former House Speaker.
Asked if he believes that such movements on the budget based on affiliation of lawmakers is anomalous, Lacson said: “At the very least it is improper because the disparity in the distribution of funds to the different districts, makikita natin masyadong malawak (it is wide).”
“From a high of P15.351 billion to a low of P620 million,” Lacson said.
Lacson earlier bared “huge” infrastructure allocations for congressional districts under the 2021 budget, with allocations for 220 districts amounting to over P1 billion.
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