Villar admits involvement in ‘double insertion’ in budget
09/16/2008 | 08:58 PM
MANILA, Philippines — In a turnaround from his earlier denials, Senate President Manuel Villar Jr on Tuesday admitted that he personally requested the additional budget for the C-5 road extension project in Parañaque City.
But he stressed that there was nothing anomalous with this action.
In an interview with Ruth Cabal of GMANews’ ‘24Oras,’ Villar admitted that he asked for the additional funding, but said he did not demand for any specific amount.
He added that request as such for certain projects is normal.
“Sa Senado lalung-lalo na kung Senate president napakaraming pakiusap na tinatanggap at ‘yung mga gusto naming mga proyekto ay gusto naming mapondohan (Here in the Senate, especially if you are the Senate president, we receive plenty of requests for funding for pet projects,” Villar said.
“Basta additional funding without specific amount pero kung ‘yun lang ang maibibigay, ok lamang ‘yan (As long as it’s additional funding without specific amount, it’s okay with us,” Villar added.
He also explained that the two C-5 extension proposals, indeed, are two different projects, opposite to the earlier claims of opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
“Dalawang proyekto ‘yan. “Yung isang proyekto ay flyover na magkokonekta sa Coastal Road. ‘Yung second project ay flyover naman na magco-cross ng Sucat. So, eto ‘yung sinasabing isang proyekto lang, dalawang proyekto ‘yan (There are two projects here. One is the flyover connecting Coastal Road and the second project is a flyover that will cross Sucat. So this what they say is only one project but it’s actually two,” Villar explained.
But Lacson reiterated his stand that two separated P200 million insertions was for the one and the same stretch of road, adding that the investigation on his exposé should pursue.
“Pinakita ko na nga na ‘yung ibang proyekto naka-indicate point by point kung para saan ‘yung appropriations. Pero itong sa kanya, ‘yung sinasabi niyang hindi double entry, iisa naman and description. So palusot nalang ‘yan (I’ve already shown that in the other projects, the appropriations are indicated point-by-point. But this entry, which he (Villar) says is not ‘double entry,’ has only one description. So, he’s just trying to wriggle his way out),” Lacson said.
Senator Francis Escudero echoed Lacson.
“Que political of personal man ang rason nananatiling may issue at may tanong na dapat sagutin (Whether it’s political or personal reason, there is an issue raised that has to be answered,” Escudero said.
The report said the three resolutions seeking for the investigation of the scandal were already referred to the Senate Committees on Finance and Public Accountability (Blue Ribbon Committee).
Villar said he will not inhibit himself from the case, saying he will face any charges that will be filed against him.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joker Arroyo, a close friend of Villar, vowed to block any move that will lead to the investigation of the scandal.
“… Tell me Sen. Lacson where is the corruption committed?” Arroyo asked.
To which Lacson retorted: “Patulog-tulog siya kapag may privilege speech, patulog-tulog siya kapag meron business dito sa Senate, sa floor, tapos salita lang siya ng salita na hindi niya naiintindihan (He is not paying attention when we have business here in the Senate and he talks without understanding).”
Amid the brouhaha, oppositions Sens. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel Roxas stressed that the opposition remains solidly united behind Lacson’s move to expose any anomaly in the national budget.
Administration Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, described the bickering as just an appetizer for the nearing 2010 national elections.
“Yung nakikita po natin na putik na tinatapon on both sides ano na po ‘yan appetizer sa 2010 elections (What you have witnessed, in which both sides are throwing mud at each other, is just a prelude to the 2010 elections),” Zubiri said. – Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV