Lawmakers question timing of issues vs AKAP | Inquirer News

Lawmakers question timing of issues raised vs AKAP

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 06:17 PM February 20, 2024

House members question AKAP issue timing


MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the timing of issues Senator Imee Marcos raised about the P26.7 billion Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) line item inserted in the 2024 national budget.

In a joint statement, several members of the House of Representatives asserted that Sen. Marcos should have raised her concerns during the Senate’s plenary deliberations and the bicameral (bicam) conference on the budget.


“The GAA (General Appropriations Act) was signed in December. It’s almost the end of February, bakit ngayon lang kinukuwestyon ito? Dapat po especially during the bicam, if there is indeed irregularities, this should have been raised as early as the discussions,” PBA Party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles said.

(Why is she questioning this just now? She should have raised her concerns during the bicam so that if there are indeed irregularities, this should have been raised as early as the discussions.)


“At bakit po ngayon kinukuwestyon ito sa timing na may malaking issue. Ang nakakatakot po dito, sa bawat na lang po na ayuda na binibigay po namin sa taumbayan na kasama po sa trabaho ng public officials, servants, bakit nirerelate dito sa PI (people’s initiative)?” she further asked. 

(Why is she questioning now that there is a big issue? What’s worse is every time we distribute aid as part of our jobs as public officials, it  is being questioned and linked to people’s initiative.)

Nograles likewise said that Sen. Marcos was part of the bicameral conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate budget versions and was among those who signed the committee report. 

In AKAP and the lower chamber’s defense, Nograles said that by including the controversial program in this year’s outlay, “the House was just returning to the people the money they paid to the government in taxes.”

Nograles claimed the previous administrations went through a similar process of approving the national budget, as she pointed out how Sen. Marcos seemed to be “singling out” the current administration. 

Sen. Marcos earlier claimed that the allocated budget for AKAP had defunded billions of pesos in pensions for retired military and uniformed personnel and government workers.


Last February 14, the senator linked AKAP to the signature campaign launched by movers of a people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution and believed that the program was among the government initiatives used to entice Filipinos to sign the petition for Charter change. 

‘No irregularity in the budget enactment process’

Meanwhile, Lanao Del Sur’s 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong said he did not see any irregularity in the budget enactment process followed by both chambers, saying that the new AKAP program was only put in question in relation to the people’s initiative.  

“I don’t see any reason why some of our counterparts in the Senate are questioning the process when they themselves have affixed their signatures,” Adiong said.

“It went ballistic, everybody went ballistic. I don’t know the reason why it was attached to the ongoing PI investigation, which is for is completely untrue, we are not using this for people’s initiative,” Adiong stressed.

1-Rider Party-list Rep. Rodge Gutierrez rejected Sen. Marcos’ allegation that the budget was not approved via the appropriate procedure.

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Gutierrez said that the budget for AKAP was discussed as early as October last year.

TAGS: AKAP, Cha-cha, Imee Marcos, lawmakers

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