The tug of war over the speakership continues despite the agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte between House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco.
One of Cayetano’s top allies, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, has dragged former Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez into the speakership row after a lawmaker questioned Camarines Sur’s supposed hefty allocation in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) 2021 budget.
During DPWH’s budget briefing Thursday (September 18), Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. claimed Camarines Sur has been allotted P11.8 billion for infrastructure projects, while Taguig, which is controlled by the Cayetanos, will get P8 billion.
READ MORE: Tiba-tiba sa budget! Lawmaker confronts Mark Villar over P8Bfor Cayetanos’ Taguig, P11B for Cam Sur
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.
Under the “15-21” term sharing deal, Cayetano will serve as Speaker until October this year. He will be succeeded by Velasco, who will hold the position until the 18th Congress ends in June 2022.