By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Tuesday the leadership of the House of Representatives should take a hint from President Duterte’s statement that he would not sign an illegal budget if they are indeed supportive of the administration’s legislative agenda.
Lacson stressed that after stating that the President is correct in “not signing anything that would be an illegal document.”
“He (the President) is correct. What I can’t understand is why the House leadership cannot take the hint from President Duterte himself,” Lacson said.
Lacson earlier revealed that the House leadership manipulated the budgets in the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA or national budget) to favor Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies.
He said that such manipulation took place after the budget had been ratified – a violation of the legislative process and the 1987 Constitution.
Lacson noted that the House leadership slashed a whopping P72.319 billion from the Major Final Output (MFO) 1 and 2 of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) totaling P216 billion.
The amount, according to Lacson, was realigned to the pet projects or pork barrel of House members.
“Speaker Arroyo said she is in full support of the President’s agenda but look at what they have done,” Lacson lamented.
He noted the MFO 1 and 2 refer to institutional projects, many of which had undergone years of planning. These include the Asset Preservation Program, Network Development Program, Bridge Program, Flood Management Program, Convergence and Special Support Program including the ‘Build Build Build’ legacy project of the administration.
“It’s bad enough that the House would do this without any consultation, and whimsically, arbitrarily, realign such funds to pet projects,” Lacson said.
Read more: Duterte won’t sign ‘illegal’ budget