Enrile questions President Aquino’s P101-B pork in ’12 budget | Inquirer News
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Enrile questions President Aquino’s P101-B pork in ’12 budget

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday questioned what he called was President Benigno Aquino III’s “pork barrel” amounting to P101.5 billion which is included in the proposed national budget for next year.

The budget allocation, labeled as “miscellaneous personnel benefits fund” (MPBF), lumps together the unspent appropriations for unfilled positions in all three branches of government.

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Both Enrile and Sen. Joker Arroyo find this move questionable.

Representatives of the judiciary also opposed the inclusion of P1.98 billion of their budget in the MPBF, whose distribution would be controlled by the executive branch, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

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“This is going to be a huge pork barrel and I think I will support Malacañang on various issues, but I think Congress will have to put its foot down on the impoundment of these funds,” Enrile said during the Senate hearing on the judiciary’s proposed P13.4 billion budget for 2012.

Congress decides

“It is the Congress that decides on the allocation of funds. The executive proposes, but Congress will dispose it,” he said.

Enrile added: “The way I see it, it’s a system of control. It’s unwarranted and I think as far as I am concerned, I will resist this. Nothing personal, but it’s my duty as head of the Senate, to resist this system. And I don’t care if I would be kicked out of my position.”

Arroyo agreed with Enrile, saying Malacañang was “hijacking the judiciary funds.”

“The executive is testing the waters, probing how deep it can control the Supreme Court and Congress and constitutional agencies,” he told the Inquirer in an interview.

Arroyo noted that under the MPFB, Malacañang would control part of the budgets for career positions of Congress (P281.6 million), judiciary (P1.9 billion), Civil Service Commission (122.8 million), Commission on Audit (P1.8 billion), Commission on Elections (P162.3 million), and the Office of the Ombudsman (P567.7 million).

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In all, Malacañang would have control over a total of P4.97 billion representing combined funds for unfilled positions of all “constitutional commissions and offices enjoying fiscal autonomy,” according to Arroyo.

“We should avoid a confrontation between the executive and the judiciary that could result in a case between the two,” he said.

“Because the Constitution is on its side, that it enjoys fiscal autonomy, the Supreme Court may, if a case is filed, may just render a decision nullifying the impounding of judiciary funds that the DBM transferred to the executive, for it to spend.”

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TAGS: 2010 budget, Aquino’s P101 billion pork, Miscellaneous personnel benefits fund (MPBF), President Benigno Aquino III, Sen. Joker Arroyo, Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile
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