Proposed 2019 nat’l budget would be pork barrel-free — Malacañang

Published August 16, 2018, 4:57 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

The proposed national budget for 2019 would be a pork barrel-free expenditure program, Malacañang assured the public Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

“The President is unrelenting in his campaign against graft and corruption and he does not condone pork barrel,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during an interview with reporters in Malacañang.

“We guarantee you it is pork-free,” Roque added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier expressed concern about the possible return of alleged pork barrel system in the P3.757 trillion national budget proposed by the Executive branch.

Lacson reportedly claimed that there were funds in the 2019 budget proposal that could be regarded as discretionary resources to bankroll the chosen projects of lawmakers.

Reacting to Lacson’s concerns, Roque said: “I leave it to Senator Lacson because he is a legislator. He knows what he talks about.”

“My stint in Congress was too short to actually know what he is talking about but he has had three terms in Congress, he knows better,” the former party-list lawmaker added.

In 2013, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as the pork barrel system of lawmakers.

It ruled that the PDAF and previous pork barrel funds violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers in allowing lawmakers to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget execution.