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Napikon sa pork? Loren dismisses Ping’s claim of P4.8B as mere ‘hearsay’

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Senator Loren Legarda dismissed as mere “hearsay” claims made by Sen. Panfilo Lacson on a pork-like item in the proposed 2018 national budget amounting to P4.8 billion as she brushed reporters’ questions on the issue.

“I cannot answer based on hearsay, sorry,” an apparently irate senator said.

“I would like to see what it is. Why do you ask me to identify something which you asked another senator? I think you should ask the senator who stated that then show it to me so that I will know,” Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee, said.

She was referring to Lacson who recently said on his Tweeter account that he spotted a pork-like item in next year’s budget.

Lacson said the pork item could be realigned to fund the recently signed law making free the college education in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.

But Legarda does not want to address Lacson’s claim squarely unless he showed her the allocation himself.

“Hindi pwedeng haka-haka. I’d like to be asked questions and you should have the details so I can look for it in the budget. I don’t know what he (Lacson) is referring to actually. If he is referring to the budget of every district of every congressman, there is a budget for every district because our country is divided into congressional districts. So what do you do to infrastructure projects in provinces and districts?” she asked.

Legarda said that the Supreme Court had declared the pork barrel unconstitutional.

Asked if she has “spotted” the same in some of the provisions of the proposed budget, Legarda said “I don’t know because it does not say who is the author of that project (kasi) hindi naman nakalagay di ba?”

“It does not say who is the congressman who put that line-item,” she said.

“Give me the name of the congressman, give me the projects of the P5 billion, what are the names of the projects, what is the nature of these projects and then that is the only time I can answer you,” she said.