No 'pork' for deputy speakers

September 24, 2019
Martin Romualdez and Fredenil Castro
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep.Martin Romualdez (left), with Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro (right), comments on allegations of Sen.Ping Lacson, pointing out the 2020 National Budget passed by the House of Representatives contains no pork and no parked outlays. Photo by Ver Novemo

HOUSE Majority Leader Martin Romualdez asked Sen. Panfilo Lacson to disclose who told him about the alleged P1.5 billion for each Deputy Speaker under the 2020 budget.

In a press briefing, Romualdez said the members of the House are very disappointed over the accusation of Lacson because there is no truth about pork barrel or padded budget.

“Actually nalulungkot po kami kasi hindi natin alam kung saan galing ‘yan. At this point right now, nobody seems to know where that is coming from and it would be helpful if the good senator could help us ferret out the truth by revealing [to] us the sources and the details on these information,”  Romualdez said.

Romualdez also said the House of Representatives worked hard and swiftly to approve the budget in order to give the Senate more time to scrutinize the proposed 2020 national budget.

Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, a former Majority Leader, also urged Lacson to name his source of the allegation of padded budget for House Deputy Speakers.

Castro said he doubted the veracity  of Lacson’s claim that a certain member of the House disclosed that each Deputy Speaker is receiving at least P1.5 billion.

“I don’t believe that there is a congressman behind this or will tell this to the Senate.  Last 2019 it also happened, but the identity was not revealed. So if Senator Lacson is able to present the House member, he should name him,” Castro said.

Castro appealed to the critics of the House leadership, that they should stop spreading disinformation that the proposed P1.6 billion hike for House funds is only intended to support the increasing number of deputy speakers and key positions in the House of Representatives.

He added that additional deputy speakers should not be misunderstood because in fact they have helped in the record time passage of President Duterte’s revenue measures and the national budget.

“Let’s be accurate by giving emphasis that the additional funds are
meant also to benefit our Batasan employees, enhancement of the Congressional Budget and Planning Office (CPBO), and planned improvement of facilities,” Castro said.

Castro said that with the passage of revenue measures, the Filipino
taxpayers were assured that the 2020 national budget will be a reflection not only of the President’s vision, but also of the people’s will.

“The swift passage of the national budget would give more time for the Senate to scrutinize the appropriation bill to avoid delays. The House also strictly complied with ‘no pork, no parking, and no delay’ policy,” he added.

Last week the House approved on third reading House Bill 4228 on the national budget for 2020 amounting to P4.1 trillion.