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Lump sum in budget unavoidable, Palace says

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte

Malacañang on Saturday argued that having lump sums in the annual national budget is unavoidable because of the “flexible” nature of the Executive branch of government.

“There are lump-sums in the budget that we cannot avoid having like the calamity fund, the eGov funds that are there,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio.

“By [its] very nature, the Executive needs flexibility,” she added.

Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Francis Escudero also come to the defense of the 2015 national budget, saying there the executive department has pork barrel in the budget but not lawmakers.

“In terms of having lump sums and the Executive can still dictate where to put these, there’s pork barrel. In other countries, they don’t call lump sums for the President pork. But it’s a matter of semantics,” he said.

“So if in your minds pork is any lump sum and anyone has discretion, the Executive and Secretaries have pork,” he added.

Valte said Cayetano was correct in saying that the pork barrel has died ever since the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional.

On Monday, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said the national budget had “two dangerous minefields leading to corruption”—the pork barrel funds and the new definition of savings.

She insisted that there is still pork barrel in the budget and that it is intended for the 2016 candidacy of the administration’s presumptive bet, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

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