P83.2B ‘insertion’ irks Lacson,   boycotts signing of budget bicam report

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Lacson on P83B last-minute insertion: Bad habits are indeed hard to break.

MANILA, Philippines – A visibly irked Senator Panfilo Lacson has on Wednesday objected to a last-minute insertion of P83.219 billion in the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget and then bolted out in disappointment on the signing of a bicameral conference committee report.

“Bad habits are indeed hard to break,” the Senator was quoted as saying.

According to Lacson said at least 117 flood control projects worth P3.179 billion “dominate the insertions, with eight projects uniformly budgeted at P60 million each.”

“One reason why I did not attend the signing of the bicam report [was because] last night after our session, my office received from the HoR through the Senate LBRMO one USB (universal serial bus) containing two files – the ‘Source’ File and the ‘List’ File,” he said in a text message.

LBRMO stands for Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office.

“Our preliminary scrutiny of the last minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219 billion that was apparently  used as the congressmen’s  ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345 billion that were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning,” Lacson said.

Because of the absence of a preliminary explanation from the HoR regarding the two files, Lacson said the Senate “cannot ascertain if indeed only P16.345 billion or the bigger amount of P83.219 billion was inserted at the last minute prior to the bicam signing.”

“What is clear though is that there are still lump sums and vaguely described projects that are now part of the bicam report,” Lacson stressed.

And with it, Lacson only expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte “will again display his aversion to corruption.”

“Pork is here to stay. I hope the President will again exercise his political will in vetoing line items that will obviously waste people’s tax money,” Lacson said.

“It is revolting to note that legislators keep on dipping their dirty fingers on our national budget in spite of pending cases involving the same issue,” Lacson added. (IAMIGO/CNS)

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