MANILA — Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday assured that the proposed Php3.002 trillion national budget for next year will be used to address the needs of the country and not for the election campaign.
The Palace official, during the daily press briefing at the Palace, made the assurance following insinuations that the government is funding the presidential bid of Interior and Local Government Secretary and Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate was reported to have questioned the sources of TV campaign ads of Roxas.
“The budget, especially in an election year, will always be an item they will use as an election issue,” Lacierda said, noting that the same issue was raised during the 2013 midterm elections.
“The Aquino administration is going to last only until the first half of 2016. That is a legacy budget. Because it’s election year, people will always say that it’s an election budget, but 2013 was also an election year. That was the 2013 budget. That was the same thing. But President Aquino has already mentioned we didn’t use the 2013 budget for the midterm elections. So I can tell you categorically that we’re not going to use the 2016 budget for the 2016 elections,” he explained.
With regards to Roxas using government funds for his presidential campaign, Lacierda said the interior secretary “has never been tainted with corruption” in his 20 years of public service.
“Do you think that he will, in his 20 years of experience, taint his name? Has he ever been accused of using government funds for a campaign?” the spokesman said.
Referring to President Aquino’s speech when he named Roxas as the Liberal Party’s presidential bet, Lacierda said Roxas had prohibited his own family from engaging in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which he promoted when he was still trade secretary.
“Secretary Mar Roxas has never used his position to advance a gain for his own family. In his 20 years of public service, he has never been tainted with corruption. He has always maintained his integrity. That’s also the statement of the President in his endorsement speech, and nobody has ever questioned him on his integrity, nobody has ever questioned his experience,” said the Palace official.