Yap clarifies: Take away budget from agency execs involved in corruption
MANILA, Philippines — ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap on Saturday clarified his proposal before the bicameral conference committee of cutting or scrapping the budget of government agencies proven to be involved in corruption, saying that he only wants funds to be taken away from officials who are involved in corrupt activities.
Yap made the clarification after Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon gave reactions on Yap’s proposal, with Biazon saying that corrupt officials should be either suspended or axed from their posts.
Drilon, meanwhile, added that slashing the budgets of agencies is “not the appropriate remedy” to rid the government of corruption.
In a phone call interview with INQUIRER.net, Yap, who is the House appropriations committee chairman, said that either the Senate or the House does not have the power of removing corrupt government officials from their posts.
“So nasa power natin sa Congress bilang appropriations na pwede natin ayusin yung budget nila. kung sa tingin natin yung budget na ‘to napupunta sa corruption, why not tanggalin natin [at] ilipat natin sa vaccine, ilipat natin sa social amelioration program, dun sa mas makikinabang ang mga Pilipino, di ba?” Yap said.
(So it’s the power of Congress, through the appropriations that we can fix the budget. If we think this budget is filled with corrupt, why not remove it and allocate natin for the vaccines, or to the social amelioration program, to those where the Filipinos will get the most benefit from.)
He then cited the Bureau of Customs as an example, saying: “Yung intelligence officer na ‘yun [intelligence group] nila corrupt, then tignan natin intel fund nila kung may mako-corrupt ba dun, babawasan natin, ilalagay natin sa modernization naman.
(For example, an intelligence officer is corrupt. Then we’ll look into their intel fund and see if this will be used in corruption. Then we will cut the budget, and then allocate it to the modernization instead.)
“’Yun lang yung sinasabi ko, hindi ko naman sinasabi na ize-zero [budget] ng yung agency,” he added.
(That’s what I’m saying, not to zero the budget of the agency.)
“So ang sa akin, sabi di mo tanggalan ng budget yung taumbayan tanggalan mo ng budget ng may control yung taong corrupt.”
(For me, you should not take away the budget from the people. Take the control away from the official who is corrupt.)
Yap further said that he will still pass this suggestion to the bicameral conference committee.
He previously that the House appropriations committee will conduct its own investigation on various agencies after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a government-wide probe amid allegations of corruption.
This investigation will be held before the bicameral conference committee — composed of representatives from the House and the Senate — will meet to harmonize the proposed national budget for 2021.
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