No pork barrel in 2019 budget: solons

MANILAThe leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday assured the public that there is no pork barrel or lump sum funds in the 2019 national budget.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. made the statement in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson's claim of the possible return of the "happy pork barrel days" under the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Andaya said the lower chamber would be "observant" of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling, which declared as unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

"The leadership of the House will be observant of the SC ruling. Most especially regarding lump sum funds and the role of legislators in budgetary authorization," Andaya said.

"The process we will observe will be no different from the process adopted by the Senate," he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro described Lacson's statement about the return of pork barrel as "speculative and a convenient guess work", noting that it is "bereft of any legal and factual bases."

"The good senator himself said that there is a Supreme Court decision on the matter henceforth, regardless of who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court decision will always be observed," Castro said.

Lacson also sounded the alarm against the "massive mangling" of the National Expenditure Program following Arroyo's pronouncement that all congressmen will receive allocations for their respective districts.

Arroyo said she will not give zero-budget to lawmakers who are critical of the administration.

"Bibigyan lahat ng (All congressmen will be given a) budget as gesture of goodwill," Arroyo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency