Ping: P15.7-B lump sum fattens House | Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

Reference:
Mallari, M. (2018, November 26). Ping: P15.7-B lump sum fattens House. Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2018/11/26/ping-p15-7-b-lump-sum-fattens-house/

Ping: P15.7-B lump sum fattens House
By Mario J. Mallari – November 26, 2018 12:05 AM

Each of the 262 members of the House of Representatives was allotted with P60 million “pork barrel,” or P15.72 billion in total, in the proposed 2019 budget passed by the House of Representatives.

Thus claimed Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a staunch oppositor of “pork barrel,” yesterday citing information he received following the House approval of the measure last week.

“Even if they say that there is no ‘pork,’ it is very clear that there is ‘pork.’ The initial information subject to validation is that all congressmen were given P60 million each,” Lacson said in an interview.

According to the senator, the source of the “pork barrel” was the P51 billion “insertions” retained from the P55 billion lump sums which were the subject of the “fight” among House leaders following the change of speakership last July.

Lacson, nonetheless, said the House also added P4 billion more in insertions, P31 billion of which was allotted for the Department of Public Works and Highways.

No question asked
The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) of P3.757 trillion for next year.

Voting 196-8, members of the House endorsed the bill that will be transmitted to the Senate for approval before the final version is approved in a bicameral conference.

Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the 2019 budget is “pork barrel-free.”

“Everything we are doing here is compliant with all the pertinent laws and the Supreme Court (SC) decision (on the Priority Development Assistance Fund [PDAF]),” he said.

In 2013, the SC ruled the PDAF or the legislative pork barrel as unconstitutional.

Everybody happy
“I think all (congressmen) were given (their share) because nobody questioned it (budget measure) on the floor during its approval on third reading… I supposed everybody (was) happy,” Lacson said.

Lacson said the amendments made after the second reading of the GAB were already “anomalous,” worse, the amendments were only meant to insert “pork barrel.”

The source of the pork barrel was the P51 billion insertions retained from the previous P55 billion lump sums.

“That is the anomaly there. Why were there only some congressmen involved in the amendment? I was wondering why nobody stood up (to question it),” Lacson lamented.

The amendments actually resulted in the delayed transmittal of the GAB from the House to the Senate.

The House only approved the GAB last week and the measure would be reaching the Senate this week at the earliest for scrutiny by the senators.

“It will be difficult to look for this. And this is only the initial information that I received. When the GAB-2 reaches us, we can then validate if the numbers I saw were true,” Lacson said.

The senator maintained, however, it will be impossible for the Senate to pass the GAB before the year ends, considering the very tight schedule as Congress is set to go on a Christmas break on 12 December.

Published in Headlines | Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

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