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Natauhan bigla: Legarda admits it’s hard to guarantee zero pork in 2018 budget

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Senator Loren Legarda is changing her tune on the presence of pork barrel funds in the proposed P3.767 trillion national budget next year.

The chair of the Senate finance committee on Sunday said she could not categorically state if there’s still pork or pork-like items, as alleged by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, in the 2018 proposed budget.

She, however, promised to break down the lump sum appropriations to ensure that there would be no insertions in the budget.

“(It’s) hard for me to say (if there’s none),” Legarda said in a radio interview when asked to confirm or deny Lacson’s claim that the budget had least P5 billion in pork items.

“Alam mo pag magsalita akong meron I will be quoted, (baka) mali intindi. Pag sinabi kong wala, para naman akong inosente sa buhay. So it depends on how you would you define pork. If its pork equals PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), which is post-enactment, sa tingin ko ay wala, because how can you enact something that is already in a line-item?” she pointed out.

“I will check with him if he’s referring to a lump sum…we will clarify that,” Legarda said.

“I assure you that all lump sums will be broken down and any questions that miss my eye, at may makakatulong na senador, I would welcome it,” Legarda said.

Legarda, however, denied Lacson’s claims that she asked her colleagues to submit a supposed list of P300-million worth projects each of them wanted to be funded in the 2018 proposed budget.

Allegations on such pork-like items were dismissed by Legarda, last Friday in an interview with reporters as mere hearsay.

“Paanong hearsay eh sya nga nag-announce sa caucus (recently na dapat) before the period of amendments, na ‘mag submit na kayo ng tig P300 million na mga projects nyo.’ So anong ibig sabihin nun? Dapat huwag na lang syang mag comment sa hearsay lang sinabi ko na para bang chismis lang yung sinabi ko. My advice to her is, she should be honest to herself and to the Filipino taxpayers by at least not commenting,” Lacson said.