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Villarin: Punishing 24 lawmakers by defunding them a sign of ‘pure hubris’

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Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin said the “retaliatory actions” of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez with regard to the zero budget for infrastructure projects for district and national constituencies of 24 disobedient or uncooperative lawmakers showed an “unabashed disdain for democracy.”

In a statement, the Magnificent 7 lawmaker, who was among the 24 affected by the last-minute budget cuts, said the move would have a chilling effect on many other House members.

“It serves as fair warning to the rest of the House members that all must obey and support the move for a Con-Ass, no elections in 2019, and a shift to constitutional authoritarianism,” he said.

“Punishing democratic dissent by letting people suffer through withdrawal of basic government services is pure hubris,” Villarin said.

He added, “The alacrity by which said punishment was imposed reveals the dictatorial nature of the House leadership and the vengeful mindset of the Duterte administration.”

“Such withdrawal of projects without any basis and done treacherously after the bicam report on the General Appropriations Act was already approved in plenary is unprecedented and highly questionable. Any citizen deprived of such services can seek redress through our courts and the ballot,” he said.