Drilon: No to 2019 national budget

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Friday has voted no to the approval of the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act, as he likened its passage to signing a blank check.

He said: “I dissent from the approval of the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act.”

“It is unfortunate that the Senate did not have sufficient time to review the General Appropriations Bill submitted by the House of Representatives and the reconciled version of the conference committee,” Drilon added.

“To give my vote to this budget is like signing a blank check. I simply cannot do that,” he said.

The minority leader also denied reports that senators will get P3 billion in pork allocation, including a province in the Visayas getting more than P3 billion.

He called the allegation “grossly unfair”.

“I deny and take exception to that allegation. I would like to make of record that the province referred to is not my province of Iloilo,” he stressed.

Drilon disclosed all the amendments he made in the budget, urging his colleagues to do the same “for purposes of transparency which we owe to the Filipino people.”

“The unsubstantiated and unfair claims regarding pork barrel allocations make each member of the Senate a suspect,” he said.

“In the spirit of transparency and to erase the cloud of doubt hanging over the Senate, I appeal to the members of this chamber to make a similar disclosure,” he stressed.

Drilon, who has been actively scrutinizing the country’s spending outlay for the past 20 years, said he is not convinced that the 2019 national budget is in sync with what this government wants to accomplish, lamenting lack of congruence.

“In my 20 years in the Senate, I have made it a personal advocacy to scrutinize the national budget, which is the most important piece of legislation that goes through the Congress. The national budget is the most effective tool for good governance,” he said.

Drilon also appealed to the Filipino people to remain vigilant in the implementation of 2019 national budget. (BagongSenado)