Debates on infra budget leads to word war between lawmakers in House

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ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations defended the bigger infrastructure budget allocated for Taguig City after a lawmaker questioned it in a previous hearing. 

Taguig City has districts being represented by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his congresswoman spouse.

Yap said nothing anomalous was going on, considering that the city is home to the country’s several military camps.

“Iyung Taguig kasi karamihan doon FLR (for later release) eh kaya hindi mo siya masasabing new projects. Iyun ‘yung mga last year na project na imbes na mapunta this year na 2020, nangyari may mga FLR nilagay sa 2021. Kung titignan mo ang new projects ng Taguig di po siya ganun kalaki especially mga kampo, mga bases po nakakarga po lahat ‘yun [doon],” Yap said in an interview.

[For Taguig most of the [allocations] are FLR (for later release) that’s why you can’t say these are new projects. Those were the projects last year that, instead of being placed under this year, there was FLR indicated for 2021. If you look at the new projects of Taguig, it’s not that big especially since it covers military camps and bases.]

It was Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. who raised this question to the officials of the DPWH during a budget hearing about rumors that Taguig and Camarines Sur (CamSur) were getting the largest slice of their budget for next year. 

Meanwhile, one of CamSur’s districts is represented at the House by close Cayetano ally Rep. LRay Villafuerte. Villafurte’s son, Migz, is also the province’s governor. 

In response to the accusation, Villafuerte called Teves a “rumormonger” for raising concerns based on “hearsay.”

“In the first place, it does not befit an honorable gentleman like Congressman Teves to act like a blab or gossipmonger in spreading what he himself had admitted to be plain hearsay… Why peddle something malicious that he himself knew wasn’t factual?” said Villafuerte. 

Villafuerte linked Teves’ accusation with an alleged plot concerning the House leadership.

“It is clear as day that Congressman Teves has launched this chicanery on the basis of mere hearsay as part of the sinister ploy hatched by the Velasco camp, in cahoots with former Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, to wreck Speaker Cayetano’s commitment to fast-track the approval of the 2021 GAA by hopefully finishing the committee and plenary deliberations on the budget in record time by end-September,” Villafuerte said. 

Under a “gentleman’s agreement,” Cayetano is set to transfer the House leadership to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco in October.

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