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Speaker bets offer P200M projects in 2020 budget to party-list solons, says Cayetano

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

CLARK, Pampanga – Returning Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano said some Speaker wannabes were offering up to P200 million worth of line-item projects in the proposed 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) in exchange of their vote in the race for the House leadership.

Cayetano, in a media interview in Clark, Pampanga, claimed that two of his rivals for the House leadership have resorted to bribing their colleagues just to secure the top post in the House of Representatives.

“May kumausap sa akin, nag-ooffer ng P200 million per congressman na project sa party-list,” Cayetano said, without naming anyone.

Cayetano said he already discussed the matter with the leadership of the 54-man Partylist Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) and told them that they should first verify if the the multi-million line-item projects allegedly promised by some of the aspirants are matched with their respective party-list groups.

“I discussed with the party-list leaders and told them kung akma yung project sa inyong party-list,” said Cayetano.

The stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP) said President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave a strict order that all infrastructure project must “be in accordance with the national government priority.”

“Kapag humingi ka ng lump sum na P12 billion or P15 billion or whatever and sasabihin para ito sa district congressmen or party-list, lalabas na hindi maganda at all,” said Cayetano

“Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin, pwedeng P12 billion, priority namin. Dapat naka-align yan sa priority ng national government,” the former chief diplomat added.

Reelected Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, one of Cayetano’s rivals for the House leadership, earlier this month claimed that the alleged vote-buying scheme in the five-way Speakership race has reached a new level as bribe offer sored to P7 million for every district the Lower House.

Gonzales also stressed that the bribe offer for each party-list lawmaker has increased from P500,000 to P2 million.

The PCFI which earlier vowed to exercise bloc voting in choosing the next leader of the House of Representatives will proceed with its secret ballot on Wednesday in Sulo Hotel to determine who to support as the next House Speaker.

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