By Mario Casayuran
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon Thursday branded Kabayan Representative Ron Salo as a blabbermouth and a purveyor of fake news.
Sen. Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
‘’A complete lie,’’ Drilon said of Salo’s privilege speech that shifted the blame of the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games glitches from House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman, to Drilon and unnamed critics of the Games organizers.
Drilon, former Senate President, said a cursory check of Congress records would disprove the allegations made by Salo and other members of the House of Representatives yesterday.
‘’The journal of the Senate dated December 6, 2018 would clearly reveal that no member of the Senate slashed the budget of the SEA Games,’’ he pointed out.
‘’The P7.5 billion funding for SEA Games that was mysteriously lodged in the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – that even the Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin disowned – was only transferred to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC),’’ he said.
‘’The third reading version of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) passed by the Senate would show that the P7.5 billion budget lodged under the PSC was intact,’’ he stressed.
‘’It was the bicameral (conference committee, which members of the House of Representatives were part of, that slashed this to P5 billion. For the record, it was not I who proposed to slash it to P5 billion during the bicam,’’ he added.
Drilon maintained that the current budget of the SEA Games remains at P6 billion after P1 billion was transferred from the contingent fund.
‘’I made transparent and publicized all my proposed amendments to the 2019 budget. If only Mr. Salo exercised due diligence, he would have saved himself from embarrassment. But that would be wishful thinking,’’ he said.