PAO asks Duterte to veto budget cut removing funds from forensics lab | Inquirer News
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PAO asks Duterte to veto budget cut removing funds from forensics lab

/ 10:01 PM December 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to veto a provision in the 2021 budget that will remove the agency’s forensics laboratory.

The 2021 General Appropriations Bill prohibits the use by the PAO of funds from its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for its forensic lab.

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In a letter dated Dec. 14, PAO, through its chief, Persida Rueda-Acosta, said defunding the PAO Forensic Laboratory will jeopardize operations in helping clients who are mostly poor.

“It is highly oppressive for a governmental unit to be expected to perform its mandate with allocations only for the salaries and other entitlements of its personnel,”Acosta said in her letter.

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She added that not only PAO clients would suffer from the budget cuts but also salaries and benefits of employees on the plantilla.

“Plantilla personnel will be deprived of their right to their salary and other entitlements, contrary to their right to security of tenure,” read the letter.

She said the employees who would suffer the effects of the budget cuts would still be expected to do their jobs.

“They would be forced to spend their own earnings just to continue the unit’s operation. Still this would be grossly unfair and unjust, not to mention, a clear act of oppression,” she said.

The PAO Forensic Laboratory Division was created by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and is a “small unit” under the Office of the Chief Public Attorney.

The 2018 General Appropriations Act gave the DBM the power to approve minor changes in organizational structure and staffing pattern of agencies and create positions up to division chief and equivalent level in the Executive branch. This became the legal basis for the change in the structure of the Office of the Chief Public Attorney.

TSB

RELATED STORY:

PAO urges Duterte to reject removal of budget for its forensic lab

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TAGS: 2021, General Appropriations Act, PAO, Persida Rueda-Acosta
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