Andaya blasts Diokno anew for ‘stagnant’ P50-B funds at DTI, DBM
MANILA, Philippines — Around P50 billion in public funds have remained “unused and unaudited” in two “little-known” government offices owing to revisions done in the implementing rules for procurement by Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno, House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. said Friday.
The Camarines Sur 1st District congressman said that during the resumption of the panel hearing on budget issues last Tuesday, officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) bared that at least P17 billion of public funds transferred by other departments to the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) “remain idle and unaudited as of December 2018.”
Another P31.6 billion, he added, is lying idle for years in the Philippine International Trading Corp., an attached office of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Andaya has been questioning the DBM-PS for the bidding of some big-ticket contracts for other agencies, which he said is not part of its mandate.
COA officials noted that the inter-agency fund transfers (IAFTs) ballooned after new provisions were included in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which Andaya said was done in 2016 by Diokno.
Joey Bernardino, COA team leader tasked to audit the DBM-PS, said the biggest contributors to the idle IAFT funds of DBM-PS were the national government agencies (P16.6 billion), the government-owned and controlled corporations (P426.5 million), and the local government units (P49.8 million).
Citing Bernardino, Andaya said P1.5 billion remain unused in the DBM-PS for more than five years; P2.6 billion for four to five years; P3.5 billion for three to four years; P4.7 billion for two to three years; P2.6 billion for one to two years; and P1.1 billion for one year and below.
PNP, DepEd budget
Another P4.6 billion of the unused funds in DBM-PS came from the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while P2.4 billion were transferred from the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Ang daming pangangailangan ng PNP at DepEd, hindi naman pala nagagamit ang bilyong pondo nila at nakatago lang ito sa DBM-PS. Dapat nagagamit na ang mga pondong ito para sa ikabubuti ng serbisyo ng ating mga pulis at titser,” Andaya said in a statement.
The issue has also prompted Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso to recommend the filing of criminal charges against Diokno and other government officials who may be involved in technical malversation, saying these IAFTs are “illegal.”
The inserted provision in question is Section 7.3.3 of the revised IRR, which, according to Andaya, states that:
“In order to hasten project implementation, Procuring Entities which may not have the proficiency or capability to undertake a particular procurement, as determined by the HoPE (Head of Procuring Entity) concerned, may outsource the tasks by: a) Requesting other GOP (Government of the Philippines) agencies to undertake such procurement for them, through the execution of memorandum of agreement containing specific arrangements, stipulations and covenants, in accordance with government budgeting, accounting and auditing rules.”
Diokno snubbed Tuesday’s inquiry that prompted the committee to issue a show-cause order against him.
Andaya has been accusing the Budget Chief of “inserting” some P75-billion infrastructure fund in the proposed 2019 national budget without the knowledge of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Public Works and Highways, as well as district congressmen.
Diokno said the P75 billion should not be called “insertions” as these were “adjustments” that were part of the budget process. He added that this was a mere diversion from the “pork barrel” issue.
The congressman started his exposès after Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged that the House Speaker and Andaya got billions in “pork barrel” funds; both denied this. /jpv
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