House quickly approves Ombudsman’s 2018 budget
The House of Representatives appropriations committee on Wednesday approved the proposed 2018 budget of the Office of the Ombudsman in less than 15 minutes.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales attended the budget hearing which lasted only 15 minutes and ended with few lawmakers who interpellated the anti-graft office on its proposed P2.588 billion budget (inclusive of the retirement and life insurance premiums) in 2018.
The approval of the Ombudsman’s proposed budget by the appropriations committee paves the way for plenary debate.
The proposed 2018 budget of the Ombudsman as the lead anti-graft agency tasked to investigate errant public officials is a slight increase from its approved 2017 budget of P2.299 billion.
Morales refused interviews with the media after the hearing.
Only three congressmen posed questions during the interpellation, mostly zeroing on the Ombudsman’s zero capital outlay which was removed by the Department of Budget and Management in the proposed 2018 budget.
Morales lamented the zero capital outlay budget which would have funded a new building in the Ombudsman to house Ombudsman records which are lying idle in the corridors.
The Ombudsman asked the budget department to earmark P255.261 million budget for capital outlay in 2018.
Morales also told lawmakers she would have wanted to construct new buildings to house additional personnel, as well as to accommodate visiting officials and employees of our area regional offices to save on accommodations when they visit the central office in Quezon City.
In last year’s budget briefing, Morales showed her feistiness as the fiery anti-graft buster when a congressman asked her what the word Ombudsman means, to which she replied that the lawmaker can easily google the answer. JE
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