Alvarez soft-pedals on zero budget threat: ‘It was a joke’
“It was a joke.”
This was how Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez played down on Monday his earlier statement, threatening zero-budget for politicians who will not support the federalism initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a speech during the oath-taking of new PDP-Laban members in Iloilo last week, Alvarez said that some provinces which would not support the government’s push for a shift to federalism would get no funding for their constituents.
“Alam mo… ‘pag nag-speech ka, kailangan mo ng konting biru-biro, di ba? ‘Yun lang naman ‘yun eh, ewan ko ba kung bakit sineryoso nila yan,” Alvarez said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart.
“Nagbibiro lang ako na alam niyo nagpapasalamat ako na sumali sila doon sa partido, ‘di ba? At nagpapasalamat din ako na ‘yung kanilang mga representatives ay nasa majority kaya nga hindi sila kumuha ng zero budget. Hindi naman seryoso ‘yun. At tsaka yung iba naman putak ng putak alam naman nilang hindi ko magagawa ‘yun, ang pagze-zero ng budget,” he added.
Alvarez said he could not decide alone on giving zero-budget to lawmakers opposing the planned shift from unitary to a federal form of government because budget proposals needed concurrence of the Senate.
“Kasi dumadaan ‘yan sa Senado. Those are empty words actually,” he claimed. “Empty words ‘yan… kasi di ko naman magagawa ‘yan alone eh.”
Pressed on why he issued the zero-budget threat, Alvarez insisted it was just a joke.
“E biro nga lang… eh, di ba?” he said. /kga
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