Sen. Arroyo: Palace risks showdown
Malacañang should brace itself for another legal showdown if it insists on requiring the Supreme Court and other constitutional bodies to file quarterly reports on how their appropriations for unfilled positions were spent, Senator Joker Arroyo warned Sunday.
“It’s like Malacañang telling the Supreme Court, ‘I do not trust you,’ Arroyo said in a phone interview. “It could also invite a court case questioning the constitutionality of this requirement.”
While the tribunal itself would not initiate the action, Arroyo said, entities such as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines would recognize the irregularity and go to court.
Last week, the Department of Budget and Management and the Senate finance committee agreed to return savings from unfilled positions amounting to P5 billion collected from the SC, the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission and Office of the Ombudsman.
The budget department and the committee earlier planned to add the savings to the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) for 2012 but in retracting it, proposed the condition that quarterly reports be submitted.
Arroyo noted that the P2-billion in savings from the SC and the P3-billion from the other offices would be niggardly compared to the P101-billion MPBF next year already under the control of Malacañang.
“That condition is designed to embarrass the Supreme Court. It means (its officials) cannot be trusted with money. Like (telling) Little Red Riding Hood, ‘The better to control you, my dear,’” the senator said. Cathy Yamsuan
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