Come clean on budget, senators urged

Vicente Sotto III

A HOUSE opposition leader yesterday challenged Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III to, for the sake of transparency, order his colleagues to itemize and give the breakdown of their alleged P75-billion “post-bicam realignment” under the 2019 national budget.

“They should do the same, itemize how do you spend the money,” said House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez after the House of Representatives itemized or presented the details of their projects, including the names of the concerned congressmen.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr., who chairs the House  Committee on Appropriations, lamented that senators failed to identify themselves as proponents of the proposed infrastructure projects worth P21 billion under the 2019 national budget after making a post-bicam realignment worth P75 billion.

Of the P75-billion post-bicam realignment, Andaya said at least P25 billion was parked as additional fund for the senators’ pet projects in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

No details of the parked funds were contained in the bicam report, he said.

Suarez also confirmed that senators “parked” projects under this year’s P3.757-trillion national budget to various congressional districts for their political plans.

“Definitely (senators parked funds under the 2019 national budget). That’s a political reality as long as the money of the government is properly spent and beneficial to the people,” Suarez told reporters in a press conference.

“Well, ang iba ko pang puwedeng makita ‘yung ibang (mga) senador for their political future, magtatanim na iyon. Gagawa sila ng projects (sa congressional districts at) aalagaan na nila ‘yung mga local government. (It’s a) political exercise,” Suarez explained.