Judiciary suffers declining budget share under Aquino admin
MANILA, Philippines — Despite ruling against Congress’ favor when it struck down their pork barrel funds, the Supreme Court (SC) appealed to the House of Representatives to approve their proposed P32.664 billion budget in 2015.
During the budget hearing in the House of Representatives on Thursday, deputy court administrator Raul Villanueva said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) slashed SC’s proposed budget by P12.4 billion to P20.285 billion, or 38 percent less than their proposal, in the 2015 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The DBM’s proposed 2015 budget for SC is only a 5 percent increase from P19.3 billion in 2014, he added.
Villanueva also said “while the judiciary has received modest increases in its annual budget…the percent share to the national budget continues to be on the downtrend.”
“(The) increase of only five percent (is) just to cover for inflation, as covered with the 15 percent growth of the national budget,” Villanueva said.
In his presentation, the percent share of the judiciary’s budget has been decreasing to 0.778 percent in 2015, from 0.818 percent in 2014, 0.886 percent in 2013, 0.955 percent in 2012, 1.001 percent in 2011, and 1.019 percent in 2010.
This means the court has been receiving a declining percent share in the national budget since President Aquino assumed office.
Villanueva appealed to the lower chamber to retain their proposed budget in their deliberations.
The SC is in hot water in the eyes of the Executive when the high court ruled as unconstitutional some practices under President Benigno Aquino III’s economic stimulus package – the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Meantime, the SC is also at odds with Congress when the court scrapped the congressional pork barrel funds Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) at the height of a corruption scandal.
Aquino has criticized the SC over its decision against DAP, warning of a “collision” between the executive and judiciary.
In a televised statement on Tuesday, Aquino complained that the judiciary seemed to be using its power to check and balance the executive and legislative branches “more often.”
“It’s like instead of exercising restraint, [the judiciary is using] this power more often,” he said.
“Now, as a result, the balance between the three branches appears to be gone,” Aquino added.
He also said in the same interview that he is open to a second term as well as to amend the Constitution.