P2.57B for 32 new partylist seats – Speaker
MANILA, Philippines—An additional 32 partylist representatives would cost P2.57 billion for the lawmakers’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and operating expenses, Speaker Prospero Nograles said.
As each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to P70 million annually in PDAF or “pork barrel,” the 32 new lawmakers will mean an additional P2.24 billion budget, Nograles said.
There is also need to supplement the present House budget by P330 million for salaries of new staff and other operational expenses of the 32 new lawmakers for the remaining eight months of the year, he said.
The P330 million excludes provisions for new offices, electricity, and other needs, Nograles said.
These have no allocation under the 2009 budget, he said.
Each representative is entitled to six co-terminus staff, he said.
A four-story building, worth P700 million, is being constructed at the south wing of the complex, but this will be completed next year. Nograles said this could serve as the venue for the offices of the new congressmen.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday increased to 55 the number of seats in the House for partylist groups as it ordered the Commission on Elections to implement a new formula for allotting party list seats.
Nograles reiterated that the ruling created a “big constitutional issue” as this would bring the total of House members to 270, exceeding the limit of 250 members set by the Constitution “unless otherwise fixed by law.”