MANILA - House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday denied that she re-aligned P25 million in the 2019 budget to favor certain lawmakers even after it was ratified, Malacañang said.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Arroyo assured him that she does not know anything about Sen. Panfilo Lacson's claim.
“According to Speaker Arroyo, as far as she knows, whatever is approved in the bicam is now the one being printed for submission to the Executive," Panelo told reporters.
“Wala raw siyang alam. As far as she knows, wala raw nabago doon sa bicam.”
(She said she doesn't know anything. As far as she know, nothing was changed in the bicameral report.)
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rolando Andaya, meanwhile, maintained that the Senate President and the House Speaker are not directly involved in the bicameral committee discussion.
"To clear the air, I suggest that the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee to hold a joint press conference to identify each and every amendment made in the 2019 GAA. After all, transparency and accountability is the name of the game," he said in a statement.
Lacson earlier claimed that members of the House of Representatives had allocated for themselves P160 million in discretionary or "pork barrel" funds under the 2019 national budget, which was ratified last month and awaiting the President's signature.
--Report from Joyce Balancio and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News