Incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday promised to make the 2017 national budget ‘pork-free.’
Alvarez, representative of Davao del Norte, made the statement in response to The Standard’s story that each congressman will be allocated P 80 million in pork barrel funds under the next year’s budget.
“There is no pork barrel, it has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court. I do not intend to violate it and [Budget] Secretary Diokno will not allow it,” Alvarez, secretary-general of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said.
Alvarez dismissed as “preposterous” the allegation that the pork barrel funds will be revived under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“How can there be pork barrel funds in the  national budget when it had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court,” Alvarez stressed.
Alvarez said that he himself would see to it that pork barrel funds which had been the source of corruption among legislators will not be revived in any way, or in any form.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate also doubted that there will be pork funds under the Duterte administration.
“Pangulong Digong Duterte already said before that he will no longer allow ‘pork’ to be inserted in the national budget, knowing fully well that it was, is and will still be a source of graft and corruption. Duterte’s avowed stand of zero tolerance on corruption campaign will be put to nothing if ‘pork’ is allowed to grease the hands of legislators as a form of patronage.
Zarate also stressed: “If this budget is the one still prepared by the Abad-DBM that is littered with pork allocations for the members of congress, then the same should not be allowed at all and should be scrapped at once from the proposed 2017 budget,” Zarate added, referring to former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who is said to be the architect of the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program that was conceived during the Aquino administration.