- Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said House Speaker Gloria Arroyo should justify the P2.4-billion allocation for her district
- Panelo said Arroyo need not explain, but the citizens would like to hear her explain
- The President can veto the budget if he find it inappropriate
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should justify the P2.4-billion allocation for her district in Pampanga from the proposed 2019 national budget which Senator Panfilo Lacson tagged as “pork barrel.”
Panelo was quoted by Inquirer saying, “I think we should ask the Speaker why the allocation is that large as compared to others.”
The spokesperson added that though the Palace need not ask her an explanation, she has to make one because the citizens would like an explanation given the amount involved and the people’s reaction.
“The fact that some quarters are reacting, it behooves those who are involved in the realignment to respond to the protest of some elements of the society,” he said.
Panelo, as per Politiko website, said the President has the power to veto the budget which is a “check and balance principle” if he find the allocation unacceptable.
“The President hasn’t said anything about it yet. That’s one of the things I will ask him personally this afternoon. We will ask him so that we will have a categorical answer from the President.”
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. last week admitted, based on an ABS-CBN News story, that the ex-President promised the allotment of P60-million for each lawmaker but he insisted that these were not pork.
He said that responsible for the P4.3-billion alleged “pork barrel” was the House Appropriations Committee and not Arroyo.
Andaya added the committee may have displayed “misplaced generosity” by approving the public works regional directors’ requests for funding for flood control projects in Pampanga and road projects in Camarines Sur.