Senators took exception to allegations by House appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. that they will get P3 billion each in pork allocation in the 2019 budget.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message, said the accusation of P3 billion per senator as pork "is a slur against the Senate."
“I assure you there is no such allocation and this is a baseless allegation. No such allocation for any member of this chamber,” Senator Loren Legarda told the plenary before she delivered her sponsorship speech for the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the 2019 budget.
She said all the amendments introduced are based on the requests of the agencies or departments.
She added that the finance committee, which she heads, asked that every amendment be accompanied by request from the agency.
“That is a very basic request. Whether it is a weaving center, an evacuation center, or airport, or bridge, to the best of our ability we tried to do all that,” she said.
Andaya had said that the 23 senators would receive at least P3 billion in government projects.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Pangilinan denied the accusation.
Drilon called the allegation "grossly unfair".
"I deny and take exception to that allegation. I would like to make of record that the province referred to is not my province of Iloilo," he said.
Drilon, in a privilege speech Friday, disclosed all the amendments he made in the budget, urging his colleagues to do the same "for purposes of transparency which we owe to the Filipino people."
"The unsubstantiated and unfair claims regarding pork barrel allocations make each member of the Senate a suspect," he said.
"In the spirit of transparency and to erase the cloud of doubt hanging over the Senate, I appeal to the members of this chamber to make a similar disclosure," he added. —LDF, GMA News