More lawmakers balk at ‘impoundment’ of P192-B fund | Inquirer News
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More lawmakers balk at ‘impoundment’ of P192-B fund

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:48 AM September 24, 2021

More congressmen declared their misgivings about the executive department’s “impoundment” of funds that were legally allocated by both houses of Congress.

With just three months before the end of the fiscal year, the government has yet to release P192 billion worth of funds in the 2021 budget classified as “for later release” (FLR), according to Quirino Rep. Junie Cua.

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“This kind of practice somehow diminishes the power of Congress,” said Cua, who sponsored the 2022 budget of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday.

Cua said he shared the sentiment of Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo, who reiterated the position of Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez that the impoundment of funds was unconstitutional.

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“I stand by my position that this seems to be unconstitutional. The power of the purse rests with Congress,” Quimbo said, explaining that the executive department was withholding funds that were already allocated by Congress.

Cua, who is allied with the Duterte administration, said the House of Representatives must look into the delayed release of the funds and congressmen decided to defer deliberations on the DBM budget.

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The FLR funds involved several projects and programs introduced by congressmen that were not included in the original National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by executive department.President Duterte did not veto the funds but he said it could be considered “for later release” because they were not included in the priorities of the Duterte administration.

But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said a spending program could not supersede Republic Act No. 11518, or the 2021 budget law.

“The General Appropriations Act, which is the product of Congress, is more ascendant than the NEP. And if there is any discrepancy between the NEP and what is approved by Congress, the latter must prevail,” Lagman said.

The NEP, he said, was just a proposal, adding that “it is subject to the disposition and approval “ of Congress.

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TAGS: Congress, funds, impound funds, lawmakers
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