By Filane Mikee Cervantes

House of Representatives Secretary General Reginald Velasco (PNA file photo)

MANILA – House of Representatives Secretary General Reginald Velasco on Tuesday denied allegations that Speaker Martin Romualdez has a PHP1.8 billion travel fund, calling these claims “completely unfounded” and “categorically false.”

Velasco issued the statement after the hosts of a program of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) claimed that Romualdez has an allocation of PHP1.8 billion for his travels.

“These allegations are a clear example of fake news, designed to mislead the public and tarnish the reputation of the Speaker and the entire House of Representatives as an institution,” he said.

Velasco urged the public and the media to exercise caution and verify facts before sharing “baseless claims.”

The House is committed to transparency and accountability, he said, attesting that such a “bloated amount” for the Speaker’s travel expenses “does not exist.”

“We, in the House of Representatives, are dedicated to serving the nation with integrity and will continue to focus on our legislative duties, rather than being distracted by unfounded rumors and misinformation,” Velasco said.

In a privilege speech during the plenary session, Quezon Rep. David Suarez called on the chamber to direct the legislative franchises committee to exercise its inherent oversight function and investigate the matter immediately.

The House approved the motion to probe into the SMNI broadcast on Thursday. (PNA)