Andaya: Former Cabinet member involved in pork 'parking scheme'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 16) — House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said a former Cabinet member running in the midterm elections was involved in so-called "parking scheme" in the budget allocations.

In a statement on Sunday, Andaya said he was approached by a mayor from the Bicol Region and reported a former Cabinet official "was responsible for 'parking' at least P300 million in infrastructure projects in the proposed 2019 national budget."

"The mayor, who requested not to be named in the meantime, disclosed that the Cabinet member parked the allocation in flood-mitigation projects for the region. Anytime ire-release na raw ang pondo. Nag site visitation na [The funds would be released anytime. There was already a site visitation]," Andaya said.

He said the official approached him to say that local executives wanted to seek an audience with him "to shed light on the so-called 'parking scam' in the budget allocations in the region."

"Lumapit sa akin ang mayor dahil ngayon lang daw nila naiintindihan ang mga nangyayari. Pumayag sila sa parking scheme dahil para rin naman daw sa benepisyo ng mga constituents ang mga proyekto. Nililinaw lang nila na hindi daw sila kumita sa mga proyektong ito," he said.

[Translation: The mayor came to me because they were beginning to understand the situation. They agreed to the parking scheme because their constituents would benefit from it. They clarified that they did not profit from the projects.]

In a media report, Senator Panfilo Lacson explains the "parking scheme" as setting aside pork money in the allotments for certain lawmakers, who then transfer these funds to areas that are not as generously endowed, but on the condition that the original holders of the funds choose the contractor for the projects.

Andaya said they would include these allegations in the House Rules Committee hearing on budget anomalies on January 3.

"The parking scheme, facilitated by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), may eventually explain the huge spike allocated to flood mitigation projects from 2017 to 2018. From P79 billion in 2017, the budget for flood mitigation projects ballooned to a whooping P133 billion. Ibig sabihin, P54 billion ang nadagdag sa mga pondong ito (It mean P54 billion was added to these funds0," he said.

On December 12, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Malacañang will look into an alleged P75 billion pork insertion in this year's budget.

This, after Andaya questioned Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno for supposedly inserting multibillion-peso allocations for infrastructure projects in the budget proposal.