House of Representatives committee on appropriations chairman Karlo Alexei Nograles maintained that contrary to the allegations Senator Ping Lacson, the House-approved General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is “pork free.”
“Just like last year, this year and the next years, I reiterate my position that the national budget is and will be free of any pork barrel,” Nograles said.
Nograles said Congress is strictly complying with the decision of the Supreme Court, which declared as unconstitutional pork barrel funds or lump-sum, discretionary funds that legislators in the past were able to control through post-enactment methods or measures.
“Walang ganyan sa budget dahil lahat ng mga programs itemized and specifically defined and described in the budget book. The budget process and deliberations have been very transparent and the budget book is open to everyone’s scrutiny,” Nograles said.
He added that under the present budget and proposed P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018, legislators can not interfere in the disbursement and utilization of the funds as well as the implementation of the projects and programs as this is purely an executive function.
“From the moment the budget law becomes effective, no member of Congress can play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the budget since this will violate the principle of separation of powers as held by the Supreme Court,” Nograles said.