MANILA – The district under House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has benefited from various insertions made in the 2019 national budget, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Wednesday.
While Lacson did not mention the name of Arroyo, the senator said that the projects that benefited from the P1.6-billion insertion were for the Pampanga towns of Floridablanca, Lubao, Porac, and Guagua – all under the second district being represented by Arroyo.
“‘Yan ang mga insertions na ginawa. ‘Yan ang halimbawa ng pork barrel. I do not know who is from Lubao,” said Lacson, a vocal critic of the former president.
“My point is there is grave abuse of discretion tapos sasabihin nila walang pork,” Lacson added during the Senate’s budget hearing. “Will you help me delete these insertions in the budget?”
According to Lacson, there were 69 farm-to-market road projects under the district of Arroyo. However, he said that he is not sure if it is was Arroyo or other congressmen who made the insertions on behalf of the former president’s district.
“It’s all there. Kung saang district ‘yan, sino ang district representative. I cannot absolutely say na sa kanya ‘yan. Baka iba ang nag-insert doon para sa district na ‘yan. But logic dictates na kung sino, siyempre you take care of your district, ‘di ba?” he said.
Aside from the projects in Pampanga, Lacson also said that a congressman from Camarines Sur has received P1.5 billion worth of “pork” allocation for his district, but did not disclose who. Speculation points to the district of House Majority Leader representative Rolando Andaya.
“Nasa libro ang GAB (General Appropriations Bill). Sa Camarines Sur. Di ko sinasabing kay House Majority Leader representative Rolando Andaya. Basta nasa Camarines Sur,” said Lacson.
Lacson also noted that, during the House’s approved version of the budget last October, the Arroyo had P726.710 million in insertions, while Andaya had P360.4 million. It has since risen to P1.698109 billion and P1.545 billion, respectively.
“Ang total nila under the General Appropriations Bill that we received as transmitted: the congressman has P1.9 billion, the congresswoman has P2.424 billion. Now my question is, is this pork or not? Is that pork or pork?” Lacson said.
“We’ll find out if the agencies were consulted before the projects were inserted in the budget bill. Kaya ba i-absorb ng agencies na mag-implement ang chosen projects?” he asked.
“They can deny all they can but kita naman nating lahat. Kayo na magsabi kung ‘pork’ ‘yan o hindi pork. I leave it up to you. Ako interpretation ko ‘pork,’ but that’s me. That’s why I kept asking the chair kung ‘pork’ ba and she refused to answer,” he said./PN