Fund diversion behind road board abolition, lawmaker laments

December 18, 2018
Danilo Suarez

HOUSE Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo “Danny” Suarez yesterday said that the abolition of
the Road Board was meant to divert its fund to support the “parking” of infrastructure projects of “former leaders” — whom he did not identify — in the national budget.

Suarez, a former vice chairman of the Road Board, said officials of the Road Board informed him that the proposal being pushed by former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez of Davao del Norte seeking to abolish the office had to do with sourcing of funds.

“Ang suggestion kasi ng abolition ng Road Board was because of some former leaders who asked sizeable amounts of money from the Road Board. Nagsumbong ang Road Board sa akin at sinabi nila…sinabi nila sa akin na they were being asked by some (congressional leaders) to dedicate an amount of money for parking projects. ‘Yung gusto nilang maglagay ng projects sa iba’t ibang lugar. We regret na kapag hindi niyo ibinigay eh, ia-abolish namin kayo,” Suarez told reporters in a press conference.

Parking refers to listing of funding under the budget of a congressional district for use later on for a different project and in a different congressional district.

Suarez dismissed the allegation of Alvarez that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wanted to control the proceeds from the tax officially known as the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) in opposing the abolition of the Road Board.

He expressed belief that the Road Board issue is being used to divert attention from the alleged budget anomalies of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that the House leadership uncovered.

In a related development, Andaya said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was wrong in saying that President Duterte can sign the bill abolishing the Road Board if it reaches his desk.

In September, Andaya recalled that he made a motion rescinding the passage of the bill where nobody objected, prompting the House leadership to carry the motion.

“To rescind it takes an enrolled bill signed by the Speaker.  That is not forthcoming for the plenary has withdrawn support.  Speaker cannot sign the enrolled bill.  No authority,” said Andaya.