Abad slammed for Aquino’s ‘big power’ in proposed 2015 budget
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares slammed Budget Secretary Butch Abad for the executive’s move to redefine savings supposedly in a bid to “cure” the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
During the Development Budget Coordinating Committee hearing on Wednesday, Colmenares said Aquino seemed to have massive powers to just stop or discontinue a project in the middle of the year.
This is the impression with the executive’s proposed redefinition of savings in the new budget to say that these unspent funds from projects may be discontinued and abandoned even within the middle of the year.
The executive effectively removed the word “final” abandonment in the original definition to reflect that the projects may be discontinued at any time of the year, Colmenares said.
“What should stop the president from abusing this? This is a big power,” Colmenares said.
Abad said such power may no longer be necessary because the government aims to utilize the budget properly, with a budget deficit of only two percent or P283.7 million.
Abad said the president had “ceded a lot of powers” already when he allowed the budget to be disaggregated according to the projects of different line agencies.
He said the executive wanted to redefine savings after the Supreme Court outlawed the original practice of savings in their decision about Aquino’s stimulus program DAP.
“The constitution mandated Congress to define savings. That’s why we’re going to Congress,” Abad said.
But Colmenares said Abad practically admitted that the executive wanted to “cure” the DAP decision.
“Thank you for your admission that the redefinition cures the DAP decision,” Colmenares said.
The DAP became controversial after Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada claimed funds from the stimulus program were given as incentives to senators who voted to convict ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. It has been regarded as the President’s pork barrel funds.
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