Miriam challenges Congress to reveal budget insertions

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2008 11:09 AM | Updated as of Sep 29 2008 07:41 PM

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday challenged her colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to identify who among them made "secret insertions" to the 2008 national budget.

"Kung wala silang kasalanan dapat sabihin nila ang pangalan nila," Santiago said during a hearing of the Senate finance committee.

Santiago said each congressman and senator who made earmarks to the national budget should explain their insertions to the Senate finance committee. The senator earlier said the budget insertions are considered illegal and warned that she is willing to bring the matter to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said he will not oppose any motion to reveal the insertions made by each senator in the 2008 budget.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya earlier revealed that he was not consulted about the proposed insertions in the 2008 National Expenditure Program submitted by the Department of Budget and Management.

The Senate finance committee has invited Andaya, Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane and former Finance chief Benjamin Diokno to answer questions on the alleged double insertion of P200 million in the C5 Road Extension project.

Enrile said the committee wants to clarify the total cost of the project and determine if there is basis for the allegation of wrongdoing hurled by opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson against Senate President Manuel Villar Jr.

In a privilege speech, Lacson said the separate P200 million budget allocations for the C-5 road extension project in Parañaque and the Carlos P. Garcia Avenue project was practically for the same project.

He also questioned the budget appropriation for the rehabilitation of the Aguinaldo Bridge in Cavite, which he said had double funding totaling P100 million.