House panel to scrutinize P1.2-B executive jet budget

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE chairman of the House committee on appropriations yesterday vowed to scrutinize the budgetary allocations on Malacanang’s reported proposal to acquire a “presidential fixed-wing executive jet” worth at least P1.2 billion, adding that the country’s next president might be the one to benefit from it.

Quirino Rep. Junie Cua, chairman of the committee, clarified that members of the House of Representatives will take a deep look at the proposal if indeed there is a need for it.

When asked if the proposal is automatically appropriated in next year’s budget, Cua explained that only the allocations for foreign debt, salaries of 1.2 million state workers and internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government officials are automatically appropriated under the national budget.

“Hindi naman automatically appropriated, utang lang at suweldo ng tao at IRA. Pero ito, hindi automatically, that will be evaluated kung karapat-dapat na aprubahan at iyun ba ay tamang investment at this time. Iyang investment na iyan ay kailangang mapag-usapang mabuti kung dapat priority o hindi,” said Cua over dzMM interview.

But Cua clarified that President Arroyo will not benefit if the proposal will push through since the purchase will take place next year where a new President is expected to be elected before June ends.

“Siyempre ang makikinabang diyan ay ang susunod na presidente, kahit na ang susunod na presidente ang makinabang, kailangang ma-evaluate kung kailangang-kailanga n ba,” said Cua.