Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that the P100 million that each lawmaker at the House of Representatives will be receiving PHP100 million under the proposed PHP4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 is not “pork barrel.”
Salceda said that these were not classified as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, which the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional in 2013.
In the previous administration, PDAF erupted into a full-blown scandal involving senators and congressmen alleged to have received huge kickbacks from PDAF-funded projects implemented by scam queen Janet Lim.
Each lawmaker at the House of Representatives will be receiving PHP100 million under the proposed PHP4.1 trillion national budget for 2020, Salceda said Wednesday.
Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, bared that of the amount, PHP70 million will be allocated for hard projects, such as infrastructure, while PHP30 million will be used for soft projects, such as medical assistance.
Asked if there were any allocations for congressmen, Salceda said: “Of course there are allocations for my constituents.”
“To ensure everybody has some minimum, PHP100 (million), yes. But that’s basically PHP70 million of infrastructure and they were itemized in the NEP (National Expenditure Program) and there is no such thing as non-itemized expenditure there,” Salceda said during the weekly economic media briefing in Malacañang.
Salceda said the PHP100 million was determined by the executive branch.
He also assured that the proposed 2020 national budget would be pork-free.
“It’s free of pork based on Supreme Court standards. And the mere fact that there are new insertions… as is, where is,” Salceda later said in a media interview.
He said it is free from pork because there are no individual amendments or alignments made to the proposed budget unlike previous years.
“There are no individual amendments, there are only three institutional amendments,” Salceda said, namely amendments to develop the education, health sectors, Camp Aguinaldo and other sectors.
“It also smells, acts, quacks like a need of my constituents and it also smells, acts, quacks as if it’s allowed by the Supreme Court,” he added.
The House of Representatives is composed of 299 districts and party-list representatives.
Duterte allies working
Salceda, meanwhile, bared that the House will approve the proposed 2020 national budget on second reading on Friday (Sept. 20) and approve it on third and final reading by next week.
“So the 2020 budget, I’m sure will be approved by September 20. The earliest approved budget at the House in history,” Salceda said.
“We will approve on second reading on Friday. Parehas lang, wala nang magbabago (It’s the same, nothing changes) after second reading. Yung third reading nominal voting na yun (On the third reading, we’ll do nominal voting),” he added.
Salceda expressed hope that the Senate would also follow the House’s footsteps by passing the proposed budget as early as possible, to prove that the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte are working.
“We just wanna prove that the ‘Duterte Super Coalition’ in the House is working, and I hope the so-called ‘Duterte Super Coalition of 20’ in the Senate will do the same,” he added.
In a separate media interview, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured that the President will veto the proposed budget should there be provisions he finds “unconstitutional.”
“Antayin natin pag sinubmit na kay Presidente (Let’s wait for it to be submitted to the President) then the President will decide if it is pork or not. He will veto it if it is against the Constitution,” Panelo said. (PNA)
Nothing but drama.
This is how Vice President Jejomar Binay derisively calls the ongoing investigation on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) by the Office of the Ombudsman.
The probe will go nowhere, said Binay of the probe linking President Benigno Aquino III and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.
Nothing will happen, he said adding that the Ombudsman is conducting the probe only for image to blunt charges accusing the anti-graft body of selective justice under the Aquino administration.
You can already speculate what will be the ending, he said.
If the Ombudsman is serious about it’s job, it should already have suspended Abad, he said.
If he should become president, Binay vowed that he would push for the investigation of Aquino and Abad, and the implementation of the Disbursement (DAP).
If there’s evidence, why not? We need to hold accountable those in this administration who did something wrong. It won’t look good. It will become selective justice. If there’s evidence, they should be sued.”
The Ombudsman has ordered the suspension of the vice president’s son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay twice this year on corruption charges.
It is also looking into three plunder cases against the vice president.
Justice Leonen: SC’s grant of bail to Enrile is special accomodation
Associate Justice Marvic F. Leonen said that the Supreme Court’s (SC) grant of bail to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is considered as a “special accomodation”.
In his 29-page dissenting opinion released on Thursday, Leonen expressed his apprehension that the SC decision granting the petition for bail of Enrile may bring about the time of “selective justice” wherein the decision will not anymore be based on “legal provisions” but based on “human compassion”.
What is unfortunate, Leonen said, the trial courts and the Sandiganbayan may be deluged by “motions to fix bail”. the basis of which, is on the ground of humanitarian considerations.
In these circumstances, he said, the lower courts should decide whether the bail should be granted due to old age or ailment or whether such a privilege will only be granted to senators or a former President who are accused of plunder and not to those accused of drug trafficking, multiple incestous rape, serious illegal detention and other crimes, with a corresponding penalty of “reclusion perpetua” or life imprisonment.
For Leonen, the decision of the majority of the SC justices is contrary to the “Rule of Law” and will imperil the legitimacy and stability of the entire judicial system.
Leonen also maintained that no “grave abuse of discretion” was committed on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it dismissed the petition for bail of Enrile, especially so that his health condition and the “humanitarian consideration” are not included in the arguments raised by the senator in his motion.
Because of this, he said, the grant of provisional liberty to Enrile can be considered as a “special accomodation”.
He added that taking into account the humanitarian consideration is also not included in the “Rules of Court”, any law passed by the Congress and even the 1987 Constitution as basis for the grant of bail. (PNA)
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