Former Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez on Friday denied House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte’s claim that he was behind Negros Oriental Rep. Arnie Teves’ questioning of billions of pesos of allocations in the proposed 2021 budget that went to Villafuerte’s district in Camarines Sur.
Benitez also turned the tables on Villafuerte, saying he should explain why Camarines Sur was allotted P11.8 billion for infrastructure projects.
“If the good Congressman is morally certain that his budget will pass the public’s scrutiny, then prove us all wrong. Be transparent with your own district’s budget,” he said.
Benitez challenged Villafuerte to “account for every peso and centavo” in the allocations.
“Sa panahon ng Covid-19, where resources are scarce and people are struggling to survive, it is only right that we demand answers to legitimate questions,” he said.
“If you have nothing to hide, explain to the Filipino people why the national government has to shoulder the construction of your provincial capitol that costs more than P420 million?” Benitez said.
During DPWH’s budget briefing Thursday (September 18), Teves claimed Camarines Sur has been allotted P11.8 billion for infrastructure projects, while Taguig, which is controlled by the Cayetanos, will get P8 billion.
In a statement, Villafuerte accused Teves of conniving with Benitez “to wreck” Cayetano’s plan to rush the approval of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.
Villafuerte described Teves “as the protege of Benitez, the former solon who has delusions of being a kingmaker to Velasco and titular head of the Visayas bloc of legislators even if he is no longer an incumbent representative from Negros.”
“In the first place, it does not befit an honorable gentleman like Congressman Teves to act like a blab or gossipmonger in spreading what he himself had admitted to be hearsay,” the House leader added.
Assuming that Teves’ claim were true, Villafuerte said the supposed P11.8-billion allocation for Camarines Sur will be divided for five districts, which means each district will get P2.36 billion for infrastructure projects.
Villafuerte said the amount that each Camarines Sur district will get is no different from the P2-billion budget that Teves himself admitted that his district will get next year.