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Drilon admits seeking funding for pet projects but insists it’s not pork

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Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon has admitted to requesting for funds for some of his projects in the P3.3-trillion national budget for 2017 but said these cannot be considered as “pork barrel” funds.

The senator said the Senate finance committee asked him and his colleagues to submit projects for approval, which he did.

“I submitted (a list of projects for funding). (But) I cannot remember (the amount). It’s less than P300 million. I’m not ashamed of it,” Drilon told reporters Monday (Jan. 9).

Contrary to the allegations made by Sen. Panfilo Lacson on the existence of pork allocations in this year’s budget, Drilon said the requests made by lawmakers were subject to review and approval of the President.

“That’s the essence, that’s the basis of the disapproval by the Supreme Court of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) system because the project is inserted into the budget after the enactment,” Drilon said.

“The reality is, the legislators suggest programs and this is not a monopoly of Philippine legislators. You go anywhere where there is a legislature, the members of the legislature submit proposals. What is critical is that such proposals are reviewed by Congress when it is submitted and most important, it can be vetoed as a line item by the Pres and its release is subject to the approval of the President,” he explained.

Drilon said he’s not aware if some congressmen received as much as P5 billion funds as earlier claimed by Lacson.

“I do not know about that. I have no information on that,” he said.