Sen. Panfilo Lacson smells “pork” in the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021. And an “addendum” from the Department of Public Works and Highways could be the key to removing it.
Lacson indicated Saturday some lawmakers’ pork could have already been inserted in the National Expenditure Program – Malacanang’s version of the budget – which the House appropriations committee has adopted.
“Ang NEP, naroon na ang lahat na siningit nila eh. Kasi ginawa ng DPWH, dinala sa addendum,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.
When asked about the possibility that DPWH and some House members may have “discussed” the details in the addendum, Lacson said: “Maliwanag naman yan.”
“In-adopt nila ang NEP. E bakit di nila i-adopt, kanila na nga yan eh. Kaya di ba may alingasngas na lumabas sila-sila nag-aaway bakit hindi pare-pareho ang pork?” he added.
On Friday, House appropriations committee chairman Eric Yap had said his panel approved the budget and adopted the NEP.
Earlier, Lacson flagged questionable appropriations in the DPWH proposed budget amounting to P532.3 billion, including lump sums amounting to P396.4 billion.
Lacson said he and his staff will now check the addendum against a list of lump sums for items such as preventive maintenance, tertiary roads, and secondary roads.
“Pinapatingnan ko na ngayon ang addendum, may listahan na rin kami, may nagpadala sa amin. Tatama ba doon sa mga lump sum? Kasi kung hindi nakatama roon, hindi addendum yan,” he said.
Worse, he said that if the addendum does not check out with the list, it would indicate the DPWH had played a role in realigning funds, which is the domain of Congress.
“Hindi pupwede mag-participate ang executive department lalo na ang isang ahensya like DPWH sa lawmaking. Kasi ang pagsasaayos ng lump sums, P396B yan, dapat ang mag-realign noon, Kongreso, HOR at Senado,” Lacson said.
“Ang nangyari nito, ang nag-realign na roon, ang tawag nilang addendum at nagpalabas sila ng listahan at nag-realign, DPWH. E hindi pupuwede yan. Wala silang lawmaking power. Ang lawmaking nasa Kongreso. So kung sinunod ng HOR yan, may problema tayo lalo pa nga kung hindi tutugma sa lump sum na nakalista kasi may listahan ako ng lump sum eh,” he added.
“Di nila kami maloloko roon kasi pag sinabi mong ito ang item na naka-lump sum, tutugma ba ang listahan nila? Halimbawa kung ilang libong items yan, lahat ba yan tatama sa nakalista sa lump sum para sabihin nilang addendum o kaya hinimay nila ang lump sum, in-itemize?” Lacson asked.
Lacson said that if the addendum does not match the lump sums, the Senate will likely remove the sums.
“Tatanggalin namin kasi illegal yan. Hindi tama yan,” he said.