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Nadulas! Suarez confirms GMA manipulated budget bill to favor allies

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo manipulated the proposed 2019 national budget after its ratification by both chambers of Congress so select lawmakers will get a bigger chunk of the funds allotted for certain projects.

The confirmation of Arroyo’s role in tweaking the budget bill came from House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, who also admitted some districts got more funds than others due to the realignments made by the House leadership.

In an interview on ANC’s “Headstart” Thursday (March 21), Suarez candidly said the budget impasse will not happen if Arroyo did not become Speaker.

“Malalim kasi ‘yung pinagsimulan ng problema. Siguro kung hindi nagkaroon ng change in leadership, wala tayong problemang ganito,” he said.

Suarez, who is known to be close to Arroyo, said the House’s new leaders “came up with some sound applications of the 2019 [budget] on equitable and proportionate application of funds to those who need the funds.”

Asked to elaborate on his statement about the “deep roots” of the budget impasse, Suarez clammed up.

“Lalalim ang usapan natin ‘pag pinag-usapan pa natin ‘yan,” he said.

Suarez confirmed that the funds realigned by the House were not distributed equally among the legislative districts.

“May mga area na malalaki, maliliit ang nakuhang congressional assistance. Meron namang distrito o mga chartered city, ‘di naman kailangan masyado ng public works, malalaki, ‘yun siguro dapat bawasan nang konti,” he said.

Asked why the realignments had to bedone after the budget bill has been ratified, Suarez said it was a “valid question.”

Nevertheless, the House leader said they did not violate the Constitution by tweaking the proposed 2019 national budget.

Suarez’s remarks prompted Senator Panfilo Lacson to tweet, “How do we catch the fish? Either by fishnet or through the mouth.”

The House has withdrawn the enrolled copy of the budget bill signed by Arroyo amid the Senate leadership’s refusal to sign it due to the changes they made.

Reps. Rolando Andaya Jr., Ronaldo Zamora and Edcel Lagman are set to meet with their counterparts from the Senate next week to try to end the budget impasse.

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