Senator Panfilo Lacson claims each of the 22 Deputy Speakers will be receiving an additional allocation of P1.5B in the 2020 budget.

Senator Panfilo Lacson claims congressmen earmarked pork barrel for themselves in the proposed 4.1 trillion peso 2020 national budget. Lacson says he got the information from House lawmakers.

The House approved the budget on 3rd and final reading last Friday after just 20 days of deliberations.

“The initial report we received, each Deputy Speaker, 22 of them, will be receiving an additional allocation of P1.5B, easily that’s P33B. Each congressman will be given an allocation of P700M. When we are talking of P700M per congressman, times 300, that’s P21B plus P33B per deputy speaker kung matutuloy na P54B in pork.” Lacson said.

While maintaining there is no pork barrel in House Bill 4228, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano concedes that congressmen may have gotten more than 100 million pesos worth of projects into the 2020 budget but he maintains these are not pork as these were vetted.

Lacson wants the Department of Public Works and Highways to submit their feasibility studies for their projects.

“Actually maliit pa nga yun that’s why some congressmen admitted that they submitted more but nowadays you plan it with your district engineer,” Cayetano said.

The Speaker also clarifies the additional P1.6B budget the House sought for itself will not only be spent on the 8 additional Deputy Speakers, new committee chairmen and vice chairman under his watch.

“It’s for enhancing our capabilities sa research including the congressional budget and planning office. It’s also to meet the requirements pag pinasa natin yung bagong salary standardization law. Syempre may mga empleyado din tayo  dito mga career officials,” Cayetano said.

The House is still working on at least 10 billion pesos worth of institutional amendments like additional funding to purchase unhusked rice and additional funds for education among others in the 2020 budget.

Funding for these may be taken from unused right of way acquisition funds and the resetting of the barangay and SK elections.

The Departments of Education, Public Works, Interior and Local Government, Social Welfare and Development, and National Defense are among the top 10 recipients of the 2020 budget approved by the House.

The Senate is still deliberating its version of the 2020 budget. (Jasper Camilo)