Pimentel to House: Check your budget hike, not Senate funds

Pimentel to House: Check your budget spike instead of hitting Senate funds

/ 11:05 AM June 13, 2024

Pimentel to House: Check your budget spike instead of hitting Senate funds

Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III | PHOTO: Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Why the Senate? Look first at the dramatic increase in the budget of the House of Representatives from P16 billion to a whopping P28 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III had this to say after the so-called  “Young Guns” in the House criticized the nearly tripling of the budget needed for the completion of the New Senate Building (NSB) in Taguig.

ADVERTISEMENT

The group is composed of 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Rodge Gutierrez, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Jil Bongalon, Zambales 1st District Rep. Jay Khonghun and La Union 1st District Rep. Paolo Ortega.

FEATURED STORIES

They earlier emphasized that it is only prudent to scrutinize public-funded projects, saying they owe it to Filipinos to “ensure every peso is spent wisely and effectively.”

READ: House solons back halting construction of new Senate building

This view, however, did not sit well with Pimentel.

“I advise the Young Guns in the House of Representatives to first look at the dramatic increase in the budget of the House from P15 Billion as reflected in the President’s Budget to the final amount of P28 Billion in the General Appropriations Law,” Pimentel said in a Viber message on Thursday.

“Their time and efforts are better spent in making sure that there is no wastage of public funds in the expenditure of the extra funds of the House of Representatives,” he emphasized.

He earlier said the figures were “only estimates” and “from memory.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The senator later on clarified that the budget, in fact, ballooned to P28 billion.

Based on the research of his office, the lawmaker said the House budget for 2024 is as follows:

New appropriations in the National Expenditure Program submitted by Palace – P16.1 billion

New appropriations in the General Appropriations Act approved by Congress – P28.6 billion

As for the controversial budget of NSB, Pimentel agreed that senators needed to be briefed about the building’s cost and the controversial “variation orders” involved in the project.

“Why did these happen? Were the architectural and engineering plans too incompetently done? Has the project monitoring by the [Department of Public Works and Highways] been competently done, too?” he asked.

Senate President Chiz Escudero earlier ordered a review of NSB’s construction cost.

This directive comes after the Senate committee on accounts chairperson Alan Peter Cayetano informed him about an apparent “dramatic increase” in the building’s construction cost from an initial budget of P8 billion to a projected P23.3 billion.

READ: Escudero wants P23-billion new Senate building reviewed: Parang OA

Despite the cost review, Cayetano emphasized that the construction of NSB may continue.

He likewise noted that it is not the Senate chief’s decision nor the committee’s doing that will cause any delay in the building’s construction at this point.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

The NSB’s construction began in 2019 under then-Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

TAGS: Pimentel, Senate

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.