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Cayetano says he won’t respond to Lacson’s hearsay vs. House

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said he will rather not respond to Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s hearsay allegations that the House-approved 2020 national budget is loaded with pork barrel fund allotments for congressmen.

“Sabi ng nanay ko, huwag ako maging tsismoso. So pag nakipagtsismisan ka, tsismoso ka rin di ba. So welcome ang kahit anong criticism and the senator na binabanggit mo ay isang kaibigan,” Cayetano said during Monday’s press briefing.

Cayetano said although he joins and respects Lacson’s advocacy for a ‘pork-free’ appropriations, he won’t respond to allegations that were just based on mere hearsay.

“If people give us tsismis and say may sources, how do you respond to that?” said Cayetano.

“We respect his advocacy but hindi niya ata matanggap na ang House na to is also anti-pork,” he added.

Cayetano said he is willing to sit down with anyone to prove that the proposed P4.1-trillion budget for 2020 “remains pork-free” despite the P9.55-billion institutional amendments inserted prior to the transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) in the Senate.

“Whether it’s the layman’s concept of pork barrel or whether it’s a Supreme Court decision, pork barrel, wala,” said Cayetano.

Cayetano stressed he is inviting his former colleagues in the Senate particularly Lacson to name identify every line item project in the approved GAB which he think are pork-infested rather than spreading allegations which he supposedly got from an anonymous congressional insider.

Lacson earlier claimed that each congressman will receive at least P700-million worth of various allocations for their respective district and constituents under the House-approved GAB.

Cayetano challenged Lacson that instead of accusing each allotted line item project for districts as pork barrel, he should rather look at the national development especially programs that needs better funding.

“Ano bang mga programa ang kailangan ng pondo, di ba? Kasi dati ang issue parati is corruption at pork barrel,” said Cayetano.

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