FORMER Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez denied influencing the budget preparation for his district to get infrastructure projects amounting to billions of pesos.
In a statement, Alvarez said lawmakers are fully aware that the National Expenditure Program is being prepared by the Executive department, specifically the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Alvarez was responding to the disclosure made Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. that he and his allies, former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and former appropriations committee chairman now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, have the biggest funding allocations for the 2019 national budget.
According to Andaya, Alvarez’ district will be getting P5 billion while Farinas’ and Nograles’ districts will be getting P3.5 billion and P4 billion allocations respectively.
But Alvarez vehemently denied making any move to get the P5 billion for projects, as he emphasized that he never attended any budget deliberation.
“The information being peddled by House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. is out of line. He belongs to the new leadership of the House of Representatives and when they took over, the NEP was turned over to them,” Alvarez said.
“The incumbent Speaker knows fully well that the NEP is prepared solely by the Executive branch. Andaya knows that because he was the former Budget Secretary of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” he added.
Alvarez further explained that when the NEP prepared by the Executive department was turned over to the new leadership, it was subjected to the deliberations of the House to decide whether they would accept or reject it.
“How then can I influence the preparation of the NEP or the decision of the House when I did not attend a single budget deliberation?” Alvarez said.
In another radio interview, Alvarez said that since he was ousted as Speaker, he went to his hometown in Davao del Norte where he continued his work for his constituents.
“Magmula noong SONA, hindi na ako pumasok sa Kongreso. I never attended a single budget hearing. Umuwi na po ako sa probinsya at nandito na lang po ako sa distrito ko,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez was ousted as Speaker of the House of Representatives right after the State of the Nation Address last July 23.