MANILA House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Wednesday denied the claim of Senator Panfilo Lacson that he was behind the alleged move to allot PHP1.5 billion for each Deputy Speaker under the proposed 2020 national budget.
In a statement, Villafuerte dismissed Lacson's claim as completely baseless and fictional, including the senator's revelation that each congressman would be given an allocation of PHP700 million in the 2020 budget.
We never thought of, discussed, planned, and even attempted to add a single peso to a district or for a congressman, what more PHP33 billion (for 22 deputy speakers). And more unbelievable (is) the PHP700 million for each of the 300 congressmen, which would total PHP210 billion not PHP54 billion as reported, Villafuerte said.
The claim and math (are) completely out of this world. How can you even try to add that amount and even think, Senator Ping, (that) the executive branch and even the public will not find out, he added.
Villafuerte noted that the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2020 can be scrutinized line-per-line by the Senate.
It's totally unfair to single me out with such a baseless claim and more importantly try to malign me with a report that's fictional and a product of imagination and far from reality, the congressman said.
We are confident that the GAB Congress will forward to the Senate will exceed the positive expectations of our counterpart in the Senate and our people, he added.
Last week, the House of Representatives approved on final reading House Bill No. (HB) 4228, or the 2020 GAB, which provides for the PHP4.1-trillion national budget for the fiscal year 2020.
Its swift passage was accomplished in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's certification of HB 4228 as urgent, allowing its second and third readings on the same day.
On record, there were 257 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and zero abstention. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency