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Andaya denies GMA’s hand in giving projects to lawmakers

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By John Carlo Cahinhinan

MANILA – An official of the House of Representatives has defended former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over allegations of supposedly distributing pork barrel funds to legislators.

Majority Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. said neither Arroyo nor any lawmaker has authority “to distribute projects” for members of Congress.

“No member of Congress, no Senator can arbitrarily order that this amount is to be released for these projects,” said Andaya.

Andaya made the statement following accusations made by Sen. Panfilo Lacson last Monday that Arroyo vehemently distributed Pork funds to all of her colleagues under the proposed 2019 National Budget.

The former Budget Secretary of Arroyo explained that the und releases are guided by the one official bible in spending—which is the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2019 under House Bill no. 8169.

Andaya explained that the one who give authorization for the release of such fund under the GAA is the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.

The Camarines Sur solon stressed that under the present syste, no member of the legislative branch can order the downloading of funds from the treasury.

“Walang karapatan o kapangyarihan ang sinuman sa Senado o House of Representatives na magpamudmod ng pondo para sa proyekto,” said Andaya.

Andaya explained that the P60-million allocation for each legislators are all line items under the 2019 NEP.

“What is erroneously being referred to as pork barrel in the 2019 GAB are funds initially allotted for all congressional districts in the country… these are not pork barrel funds declared illegal by the Supreme Court,” said Andaya.