MANILA – (UPDATED) The House Committee on Rules on Thursday started its probe on alleged irregularities in the 2019 national budget, focusing on allocations for flood control projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya alleged that P14.5 billion allocated for a flood control project was part of P75 billion in alleged insertions by Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno.
“We have uncovered disturbing patterns in the manner that the DBM now allocates and disburses public funds. The most glaring is the allocation for flood control projects,” Andaya said during the hearing held in Naga City.
The overall DPWH budget rose to P550 billion from P480 billion this year, after the adjustment which was confirmed by Diokno during a House Hearing in December.
A total of P119 billion out of the total DPWH budget was allocated for flood control projects for 2019, Andaya said.
Consolacion Leoncio, owner of contractor CT Leoncio Trading and Construction, appeared before lawmakers on Thursday’s hearing. Andaya claimed the firm cornered billions worth of projects in the Bicol region.
Diokno, who skipped the hearing, earlier said the insertion was a "legitimate adjustment" meant to bring infrastructure spending close to 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
-- with a report by Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News