President Duterte urges Arroyo to justify alleged ‘pork barrel’ insertions - The Daily Sentry

Monday, December 10, 2018



President Duterte urges Arroyo to justify alleged ‘pork barrel’ insertions



Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo and President Rodrigo Duterte / Composite photos from The Philippine Star and Inquirer.net
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo was adjured by President Rodrigo Duterte to explain the alleged ‘pork barrel insertions’ in the proposed 2019 budget amounting to billions, the Palace said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a statement, said, “He (Duterte) said that there must be some explanation on the part of Speaker Arroyo and the others, let’s hear them”.


The Palace official revealed that Arroyo has reached out via text message to clarify the alleged insertions amounting to P2.4 Billion. “Their explanation is that contrary to the allegation of pork barrel, they said that this time there were items and these items were given by different agencies and it was prior to the approval, they’ve been there. Unlike the pork barrel lump sum where there is no specific item where it will go,” Panelo said.
Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo / Photo from GMA Netwrok
Meanwhile, Malacañang relates to Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno to stay on top over the claims that the alleged insertions came from the Executive Department. Diokno was invited to appear at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“Budget Secretary Diokno has been invited to explain. So, we leave it at that. We’ll see,” the Spokesman said.

Despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in 2013 declaring ‘Pork Barrell’ as unconstitutional, Arroyo promised an allotment to each lawmaker amounting to P60 Million but insisted that these were not considered as ‘Pork’, as disclosed by House Majority Leader Rolando Abaya Jr.

In an interview with DZMM, Andaya said that it was the House Appropriations Committee and not House Speaker Arroyo the one accountable behind the supposed “Pork Barrel” in the proposed 2019 National Budget.
President Rodrigo Duterte / Photo from Inquirer Global Nation - Inquirer.net
Andaya also did not discount the possibility that the committee may have displayed “misplaced generosity” upon approving the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director’s funding request for flood mitigation projects in Pampanga and Road Projects in Camarines Sur.

Diokno Guarantees No ‘PORK’ Insertions In 2019 Budget

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, on Monday, refutes Senator Panfilo Lacson’s earlier claims that there are at least 2 lawmakers cornered bulk of congressional insertions in the P3.7 Trillion 2019 National Budget.

"There are no insertions, I can say that," Diokno pointed out. “Allocations can be considered "pork" if lawmakers meddle in project implementation,” he said.

Diokno added saying that the House of Representatives can still re – assess and recalibrate budget allocations if need be.

The Budget official also alleviated apprehensions on the county’s depth immensity saying that the country’s debt to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of around 40% is relatively “better than the usual requirement of 60%”.

"We are in a very good shape to borrow money,” Diokno maintained.

Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said the Senate was looking at 14-hour session days to deliberate on the proposed 2019 budget in order to approve it before the year ends.

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