GMA allies’ boycott of 2012 budget irresponsible, self-serving

Hontiveros said utak wangwang is also utak-pork barrel

Akbayan Party today branded the decision of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives to boycott the proposed P1.8-trillion 2012 national budget in protest over the delay in the release of their pork barrel funds as irresponsible.

The progressive political party also said the boycott sends the wrong signal to the public. Akbayan said it only depicted the minority, many of whom are allies of former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as self-serving.

“I urge our lawmakers from the minority to rethink their boycott position on the budget. The deliberation and passage of the people’s budget is one of the principal tasks of Congress. For minority congressional representatives to boycott the process in alleged protest over the non-disbursement of their respective pork barrel funds is feeble, reckless and foolish. Sana huwag naman utak wangwang at utak-pork barrel ang ilan nating kongresista,” Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros who is also a former partylist lawmaker said that during her term as lawmaker, she and other legislators were also deprived of their priority development assistance funds (PDAF) as retaliation to their strong opposition to the anti-people policies of the Arroyo government.

“During Gloria’s time, we were deprived of our PDAF. Yet, we heard nothing from GMA’s allies, who were then were with the majority coalition,” Hontiveros said.

“This however did not stop us from seriously engaging the successive national budget deliberations. We never used it as an excuse to default from this important undertaking. We believe the deliberation and passage of the people’s budget is bigger than all of us,” Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros explained that the minority’s protest over the supposed non-release of their pork barrel is not factual.

“I hope GMA’s allies will be truthful on this issue. The budget department confirmed that some of the minority legislators have already received their pork and that only 11 from their bloc have not received their pork. President Aquino also assured that everybody would get his or her PDAF. The minority should allay their fears. Unlike their patron Gloria, who prostituted our budget process, this new government is different,” Hontiveros asserted.

It was reported that among GMA’s allies who have already received pork barrel funds were Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, P 35 million; Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, P 13.5 million, Imelda Dimaporo and her daughter Fatima Aliah, who received P15 million each.

This is a press statement from Akbayan.