Escudero raps Budget chief at Senate hearingBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Thursday aired his disgust over the handling of the Department of Budget by a staunch ally of President Benigno Aquino III.
“Hangga’t hindi mo nakikita yung SARO , huwag mong paniniwalaan si Abad (Don’t believe Abad, until you see the SARO),” Escudero said during a committee hearing at the Senate.
SARO stands for special allotment release order being issued by the Department of Budget and Management now being headed by Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.
While they both supported Aquino in the 2010 presidential elections, Escudero went for Vice President Jejomar Binay while Abad, who belongs with the Liberal Party, backed former Senator and now Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas II.
Escudero’s remark about Abad’s handling of SAROs came after Environment Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi informed the Senate committee on environment and natural resources about report that the agency would get a P5 billion budget for reforestation in 2013.
The committee was deliberating on the proposed log ban and reforestation measures in Cagayan de Oro City.
“We have around P1.5 billion . Next year, we’re expecting bigger ones because we heard DBM will be proposing P5 billion something next year,” Gerochi said.
At that point, Escudero made the remark about Abad. He repeated his subtle dig at the Budget Secretary before he concluded his queries on the official.
“Can you work closely… hopefully by that time, you would be in the downstream. And if at all this bill is passed, it would be in time for your 2013 budget and if indeed Secretary Abad will give you P5 billion, I wish you all the best,” the senator said.