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Villafuerte heightens attack versus Andaya, accuses him of ‘subverting democracy’

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Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has accused fellow Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of “hypocrisy” in blasting senators for supposedly undermining President Rodrigo Duterte’s infrastructure and other priority programs with their budget cuts.

In a statement, Villafuerte said “his fellow Bicolano solon” was in fact the one who had sabotaged the government’s economic stimulus program in “masterminding the unconstitutional, post-ratification realignments that had stalled the implementation of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).”

Villafuerte said Andaya is now saying one thing while having done the exact opposite in maneuvering the hush-hush budget realignments as chairman of the House appropriations panel and head of the House contingent to the bicameral conference (bicam) committee.

He accused Andaya of “subverting democracy” during the congressional break when he messed with the 2019 GAB that both chambers already ratified in February, “in violation of the national budget process as embodied in the 1987 Constitution.”

Villafuerte said the House leadership actually “subverted democracy and wreaked havoc on the legislative budget process” in submitting the 2019 budget containing the House amendments.

He earlier supported the allegations of Sen. Ping Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III that the House introduced unlawful changes to the P3.757-trillion budget after both Houses had already ratified it.

He said the changes benefited “favored lawmakers.”

Andaya did not directly respond to Villafuerte’s allegations, but House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro dismissed the charges, saying he was just angry because he lost funding for his projects.

“I can say with authority that Rep. Villafuerte is peddling fake news. I pity my good friend L-Ray, but I understand where he is coming from. He is one of the former House leaders who stand to gain billions in projects had we not corrected the inequities in the National Expenditure Program,” he said.

“Based on our records, Rep. Villafuerte was allocated P2.7 billion by the previous House leadership. Of this amount, P1.2 billion was included in the P75-billion insertion by the former DBM boss, which congressmen questioned and opposed during the budget deliberation,” Castro said.

On Sunday, Villafuerte said: “I did not get any funds for my district in the same way that the current House leadership had illegally realigned public works and other program funds for the benefit of a select group of congresspersons,” he said.