There’s still pork in 2015 budget, Abad admits at Senate grilling
MANILA, Philippines – Legislators still have allocations for their pet projects in the proposed 2015 national budget, but they are not the same “pork barrel that we once knew,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
“To close this topic, I’m sure you’re telling us now that there’s no pork barrel whatsoever in this budget?” Senator Serge Osmeña asked Abad during the hearing of the Senate committee on finance.
“Well, in the manner that it was provided in the funds, there’s none, Mr. Chair,” the Budget chief said.
But Osmeña pressed Abad for a categorical answer.
“There’s no pork barrel budget? There’s no P70 million per congressman either in terms of scholarships, of medical assistance, of farm to market roads?” asked the senator.
The P70 million that Osmeña was referring to was the previous “pork barrel” funds allocated to each congressman before the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The senators, meanwhile, were allocated P200 million each.
“What I can tell you is there are because the way the legislators argued in the House is that how can we stop the students from continuing in school…?” Abad said.
But Osmeña interrupted him, saying: “I am not talking about the reason why, from a point of view of definition because I always get asked by the media: may pork barrel ba dyan and I always answer I’m 100 percent sure may pork, there’s pork barrel because that’s my definition.”
Responding to the senator, Abad said: “Well yes, if we follow your definition that may be the case but if we go by the law or legislation, the pork barrel that we once knew is not there anymore, sir.”
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.