DND plan to transfer P35-B ‘lump sum’ fishy, says Lacson | Inquirer News
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DND plan to transfer P35-B ‘lump sum’ fishy, says Lacson

/ 05:38 AM October 03, 2021
Panfilo Lacson

Sen. Panfilo Lacson (File photo by EDWIN BACASMAS / Philippine Daily Inquirer(

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson questioned why the Department of National Defense (DND) wants to realign some P35 billion from the military’s regular line-item budget to a special purpose fund (SPF) that can only be released with the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“You are proposing that P35 billion be transferred from the regular budget to the SPF. Why is that?” Lacson asked Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during a Senate hearing on the DND’s proposed budget for 2022.

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The DND is seeking a P222-billion budget for next year, higher than the P205.8 billion it got in 2021, making the department one of the five sectors that will get the highest allocation in the P5-trillion spending bill that the House of Representatives approved on Thursday night.

Aside from the defense sector, the social service sector or those in health-related services and education-related programs will also get the highest shares, followed by the economic services sector or the flagship infrastructure programs.

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Lacson said that since the DND budget was part of the General Appropriations Act, its funds were usually released automatically as a matter of law so he found it strange that Lorenzana wanted to realign it to an SPF.

An SPF is used only to augment the regular budget and is released only upon approval of the president, Lacson said.

He said transferring funds to the SPF would effectively turn the amount into a “lump sum” that would be released only upon the approval of Duterte and his successor next year.

Lorenzana replied that he sought the realignment because the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is valid only for one year, but SPFs can remain valid even over a year.

Lorenzana said the AFP needs the SPF because the AFP’s procurement of assets was implemented over several years and it might take more than a year to perfect the contracts.

But Lacson pointed out that the P35 billion were line items for two military modernization laws that four previous administrations since 1995 implemented via an itemized budget.

“Why transform an otherwise itemized amount under the AFP modernization program into lump-sum funds? It might cause problems,” Lacson asked.

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“It’s either that or you are not ready yet to present the itemized list of equipment to be procured … Are you not ready to identify the equipment to procure?” the senator asked.

“If you transfer the amount to an SPF, it effectively becomes a lump-sum appropriation,” Lacson reiterated.

In 2013, the Supreme Court outlawed the “pork barrel system” and similar informal practices that allowed the realignment of “lump sums” appropriated for unspecified purposes.

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TAGS: 2022 national budget, Delfin Lorenzana, DND 2022 budget, Panfilo Lacson, Rodrigo Duterte
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