THE chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday supported the call for President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to use his veto powers and remove all “pork” insertions in the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
“I am in full support of the call for the President to use his line-item veto power to remove all pork barrel insertions in the 2019 national budget,” said Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya, Jr., the panel chairman, who committed to pass this year’s national budget before Congress adjourns for the national elections campaign.
“There is so much question on the 2019 budget that remains unanswered by [Budget] Secretary [Benjamin] Diokno. These will render all the work done by the Bicameral Committee useless,” he added.
Andaya said these issues include the P75-billion insertion in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the so-called flood control scam, and the alleged P81-million bank deposits to Diokno’s in-laws’ firm Aremar Construction Corp.
He added that also included in these issues are the alleged anomalous bidding of big-ticket projects by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Procurement Service and the multi-billion peso 2017 and 2018 savings that serve as DBM’s pork barrel.
“A veto message prepared by Sec. Diokno will surely perpetuate these unanswered issues, unfortunately with the President as unwitting victim. The House panel will elevate the veto message to the Supreme Court to clarify, not to defy, the veto message. We need to know the clear implications of the line items to be vetoed,” said Andaya.
“Likewise, we will seek to intervene in the exemption being sought by the DBM from the Comelec (Commission on Elections) on the infrastructure ban. We need to be informed what types of projects are to be exempted from the election ban and the sourcing of funds for these projects,” he added.