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No pork in 2021 budget — House solons

HOUSE leaders assured Senator Panfilo Lacson that the allocations for infrastructure projects in every congressional district is free from pork and graft.

At yesterday’s media forum Ugnayan sa Batasan, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza said that these doubts in the 2021 national budget can best be discussed during the bicameral conference committee meeting.

Likewise, Minority Leader Stephen Paduano said Lacson can propose amendments to the 2021 national budget if he thinks there are questionable allocations.

Earlier, Lacson disclosed that there are more P60 billion worth of infrastructure projects allocated to chosen districts. He accused the allies of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco of getting the bigger chunks.

The 2021 national budget is pegged at P4.5 trillion and the Bicam meeting will soon start.

Atienza said there are no irregularities in the House version.

“We do not see anything irregular in it. If he claims that these are pork barrel funds, then it would be best (for him) to define it,” Atienza said.

The newly-installed deputy speaker said that if Lacson claims that the pork barrel is in the “Napoles style, then clearly this is a violation of the law and an illegal act.”

The partylist solon also underscored the need to support the allegations with evidence.

For his part, Salceda, chairman of the House Committee onWAys and Means, also gave assurance that there are enough checks that will address issues of corruption in the budget process.

“We have more than adequate oversight system to prevent graft. Citizens have also become more vigilant,” Salceda said.

Lacson said that there has been a “noticeable” hike in the district allocations of congressmen allied with Speaker Velasco as compared to those of his predecessor, Taguig-Pateros Rep.Alan Peter Cayetano.