Andaya: No rule vs higher pork for solons
MANILA - Former budget secretary and now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya confirmed Friday that some legislators got higher pork barrel allocations from 2007-2009 including a nearly P3 billion allocation to one congressman.
"First of all, these allocations or how much are given to legislators depended on the leadership of the House or the Senate. There were no maximum amounts given to them, only minimum amounts. So I would confirm that. There were some legislators who got more than others," he said in an interview on ANC.
Andaya made the clarification following Commission on Audit chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan's report that 74 legislators exceeded their pork barrel allocations during 2007-2009. Senators are given P200 million each in pork barrel funds yearly, congressmen get P70 million each yearly.
Andaya said that it was only during the current Congress that a rule was imposed that lawmakers could not exceed a certain amount.
"In the past, there was no rule that you cannot exceed a certain amount," he told ANC.
Asked if one congressman got P3 billion pork as shown in the COA audit, he said: "Not in a single release but probably in an aggregate amount. But yes, I would confirm that. All the records are there. Some legislators got more than others."
The former budget chief said all requests for pork barrel allocations were coursed through the Senate and the House of Representatives based on the budget passed by Congress during that particular fiscal year.
"Once approved, we are left to release these things to the legislators with the knowledge that all of these things will be audited. In the end there will be a reckoning on how these funds were spent," he added.
Andaya, meanwhile, said he does not know how a certain Luis Abalos could get a share of the PDAF.
The former budget chief said he welcomes the COA report on the pork barrel funds, saying he is willing to cooperate in any investigation.
"I am willing to shed light if there are any questions that I need to clarify in my capacity as a former secretary of the DBM," he said.
"If Congress needs to abolish [the pork barrel] or make adjustments or tighten it, let's do it now. It's about time the public understands and show the whole thing works," he added.