• Transparency can stem bicam ‘insertions scams’


    A lawmaker on Wednesday expressed belief that making the bicameral conference committee meetings on the proposed 2014 general appropriations act (GAA) open to the public could stop the practice of budget insertions being done by legislators.

    Minority Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, at the same times said that it is the heads of the Senate committee on finance and the House appropriations committee that should stop any insertion during the bicam meetings since all budget concerns of the respective chambers have already been addressed during the plenary debates.

    According to Sotto allowing the public and the media to observe the bicameral meetings could erase suspicion that legislators are up to something particularly congressional insertions.

    Insertions are amendments introduced by legislators in the proposed GAA during plenary session and the closed-door bicameral meetings. Those amendments introduced on the floor are acceptable since it is open to the public unlike the bicameral conference meetings.

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is now preparing a complaint against another batch of legislators and some government agency officials in connection with the controversy involving non-pork barrel funds called the “insertion scam.”

    “We should hold the chairmen responsible for any insertions in the bicam,” Sotto said adding that congressional insertions can be stopped if the committee heads will not allow it.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on finance said that he will move that the bicameral meetings, that is expected to take place next month, be open, transparent and public.

    Jefferson Antiporda


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