Stupidity or greed? If reports are accurate that the budget appropriated by Congress for the setup of redundancies in the air traffic control system was diverted to some beautification projects at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), those responsible should spend their next holiday season in jail.
First, an appropriation is a provision of law passed by Congress that must be followed by the implementing agency.
That being the premise, while I cannot speak for the present Congress, I used to grill concerned Executive Department officials on how they used the budget not just for the previous year but even as far back as three years before approving their budget proposal – especially during the committee deliberations where we could directly question the heads of agencies concerned.
Prior to the committee hearings and plenary debates, I diligently reviewed and discussed with my staff both the proposed and past appropriations of major agencies even as far back as three budget years, with emphasis on underutilization and misuse of public funds.
Incidentally, the DoTr is one of the departments with the worst underspending records, year in and year out. The P13 billion must have been part of their unspent appropriations declared as savings then realigned. I hope Sen. Grace Poe’s committee can look more deeply into the history of that particular appropriation.