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Abad denies being scolded by Aquino over budget

MANILA, Philippines - Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad denied yesterday that he and his daughter Julia, Presidential Management Staff chief, were scolded by President Aquino over the budget.

“Absolutely not,” he said in a text message.

The reports were coming out as blind items but the clues were obvious because they referred to “mag-ama” or father and child in the Cabinet, he said.

The reports circulating were that Julia also wanted to resign. But he clarified that his daughter would only go on maternity leave because she would be giving birth soon.

In a statement, the budget chief also said the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) allocation for Batanes in the proposed 2012 national budget was P368 million, and not P800 million as claimed by Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas.

“Even if you add the infrastructure allocation of the province in 2011 of P182 million, it will not sum up to the alleged amount,” Abad said.

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“All congressional districts have their allocations of DPWH infrastructure projects, depending on the length of arterial and secondary roads and bridges that have to be completed and paved. It is pure falsehood that the district of Representative Cagas got zero allocation.”

“In the 2012 budget, the first district of Davao del Sur was allocated P255 million for infrastructure, a P60-million increase from the district’s P195 million in 2011,” he pointed out.

Abad also noted Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya had been the chairman of the House appropriations committee and not his wife, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad.

“The budget was presented to the President and the Cabinet on June 21 and 29, respectively. Both deliberations took about four hours each, so it is not correct to say that the President reportedly received the proposed budget on the day of the SONA (State of the Nation Address) itself,” Abad said.             

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