By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta has accused Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon of having at least 82 infrastructure projects in Iloilo under the 2019 budget using the P2.3-billion slashed funds supposedly allocation for the Philippines hosting of the Southeast Asian Games.
Marcoleta’s remarks came following the privilege speech of Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo, wherein the latter accused Drilon of realigning P2.3 billion of the supposed P2.5 billion slashed budget for the 2019 SEAG to his home province under this year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Meron po akong isang hawak na dokumento. Ang title po nito: Province of Iloilo—Insertions, 2019 GAA. Kapag sinabi po nating insertions, wala po iyon sa original na General Appropriations Bill,” said Marcoleta.
“Ito pong hawak kong dokumento, tatlong pahina, naglalaman po ito ng halos 82 projects na ang kabuuan nga po a P2.3 billion. 82 projects… sa iisang lugar po tumama. Hindi na po ito tama,” he added.
Drilon drew flak not only from congressmen but also from SEA Games organizers under the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) following the fiasco in the country’s hosting of SEAG.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of PHISGOC has accused Drilon as the person behind the reduction of funding for SEAG under the 2019 budget.
In his privilege speech, Salo stressed that “simultaneous with the P2.5 billion slashed in the SEA Games budget, is the increase in the budget of the various infrastructure projects in Iloilo, by P2.3 billion.”
Salo said he was told Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio “Kuya” Sy-Alvarado that Drilon allegedly realigned 98 percent of the supposed slashed allocation for SEAG to various infrastructure projects in his home province during the bicameral conference committee.
Salo admitted that he has no personal knowledge over the matter but he was told by Sy-Alvarado, a member of the House contingent in the bicam that it was the Ilonggo senator some time in the first quarter of 2019 was the one who move to realigned the P2.3 billion budget in his regional bailiwick.
“I have no personal knowledge pero sinagot po nun kanina, ng isang miyembro ng bicameral conference committee na si Sen. Drilon,” said Salo.