In an interview on Politiko, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Possible veto of questionable items in 2021 budget
* Efforts to procure COVID vaccines
* Calls for reimposition of death penalty
* Hope for the New Year
Not even the pandemic and its crippling effects could stop the greed of some lawmakers as they toyed around with the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson lamented Friday.
Lacson said this after the bicameral report on the budget showed not only manipulations in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget, but also cuts in the budgets of other departments previously approved under the Senate and House versions of the budget bill.
“Congress bicameral committee report: P83.87B of DPWH infra projects migrated to new areas while appropriations worth P55.52B disappeared. As if it wasn’t enough to satisfy their greed, they cut the budgets of other departments by P28.35B. Story of our lives,” he said on his Twitter account.
“These realignments being capricious and arbitrary on the part of the bicameral conference committee members, they did not involve proper planning by the DPWH. This explains why, as I have pointed out in my interpellation last Wednesday, year in and year out, DPWH suffers one of the lowest budget utilization rates with an annual average of P82 billion from 2011 to 2018 and even lower average disbursement rate since 2017,” he added.
Dubious items in the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget for 2021 – including double and overlapping appropriations – could be a key starting point for Malacañang in reviewing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
“It is clear that questionable items such as double and overlapping appropriations should be vetoed, along with at least 793 line items for multi-purpose buildings with a uniform P1-million appropriation each,” he said in an interview on DZRH radio Thursday evening.
Even the multi-purpose buildings that I had repeatedly questioned in the committee hearings all the way to plenary gained more funds instead of being reduced, in spite of the obvious waste of funds due to the failure of the DPWH to implement them.
For the record, I am not questioning the collegial nature of our plenary deliberations. But I cannot give my vote to a measure as important as the national budget without having read the details of the said bicameral conference report.
All that being said, what happened is now water under the bridge. But it is high time we learn our lessons from this.
Parehong malamya ang paggastos sa kasalukuyang taon pero mas malaki ang dagdag sa pondo ng Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) kumpara sa Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) para sa 2021.
Bukod sa nabanggit na situwasyon, binanggit pa ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, vice chairman ng Senate Committee on Finance na marami ring kuwestiyonable at nasasayang lamang na pondo ang DPWH pero dinagdagan pa ng P28.348 bilyon ng bicameral panel ang badyet nito para sa papasok na taon.
Ang DICT na lubhang nangangailangan ng gastusin para sa national broadband program upang makatipid ang mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan sa bayarin sa serbisyong na mula sa pribadong sektor ay kulang-kulang P1 bilyon lamang ang idinagdag.
One department with a track record of underspending and questionable, wasteful projects may be getting an added P28.348 billion, while another department implementing a much-needed national broadband program is getting a “useless” increase of less than P1 billion in the 2021 budget.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson thus lamented on Wednesday evening the 2021 budgets of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, after they went through the bicameral conference committee.
“As it is, at P666.474 billion as proposed under the National Expenditure Program, and we actually base this on the historical data I mentioned, we can immediately see that P82 billion cannot be used. And here we are further increasing the budget of DPWH by P28 billion… We should learn our lessons from that data,” Lacson said in his interpellation of the bicameral conference committee report of the 2021 budget.
I don’t agree on anything that is not transparent, especially if it concerns the national budget. While the bicameral conference committee may have been reduced to a “Committee of Two,” it is not exactly the case.
In fact, I already instructed my staff to coordinate closely with the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office (LBRMO) on whatever movements of funds before the final version of the bill is presented to the bicam members for our signatures and approval.
Also, I practically demanded that I be furnished with a copy of the details of the Senate version before the convening of the bicameral conference, as what we had until yesterday morning was only the summary of the Senate version.
Having said all that, we already found some realignments that may seem questionable, based on our preliminary examination. For instance, while some of my recommended slash from the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget was adopted, we also noticed at least P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects realigned within the same agency under the Senate version.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson renewed his call to fellow lawmakers for transparency, “particularly our amendments in the 2021 budget bill.”
Lacson stressed transparency is crucial to dispel suspicions of “compromises and personal interests in our proposed amendments.”
“If we have nothing to hide, we have to make our amendments public, as I have done in my case, so those amendments can be scrutinized by the media as well as the public. It is the mandate of Congress to make amendments to the budget bill; we cannot just adopt the National Expenditure Program in toto,” he said in an interview on DZRH radio Friday evening.
Isinusulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pag-amyenda sa ilang nilalaman ng P4.5 trilyon na gastusin para sa susunod na taon, upang pondohan ang mga programang tutugon sa epekto ng COVID-19.
Ayon kay Lacson, kailangang masigurado ang pondo para sa pagbangon ng mga sektor ng kalusugan at ekonomiya bunga ng pagkalugmok na inabot ng mga ito sa mahabang panahon ng pananalasa sa bansa ng nabanggit na pandemya.
“First things first. We should first address the pandemic and its effects: Health issues, development, recovery of the economy. Those are what we need to address in the 2021 budget,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panayam sa ABS-CBN News Channel.
“I want the budget to be responsive to the sign of the times. I want it to be responsive to the budget philosophy of Reset, Rebound, Recover. These are what we need for 2021. Not the multi-purpose buildings, not the double appropriations, not the right-of-way payments that cannot be accomplished anyway,” dagdag ng mambabatas.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday bared details of proposed amendments to the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill to make sure it is responsive to the sign of the times.
Lacson said these proposed amendments include augmenting the budgets to ensure health, development and economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, Lacson said he is open to passing a special budget or special law like the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to allow the President to realign funds to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
“I want the budget to be responsive to the sign of the times. I want it to be responsive to the budget philosophy of Reset, Rebound, Recover. These are what we need for 2021. Not the multi-purpose buildings, not the double appropriations, not the right-of-way payments that cannot be accomplished anyway,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“First things first. We should first address the pandemic and its effects: Health issues, development, recovery of the economy. Those are what we need to address in the 2021 budget,” he added.
In his interpellation of the National Irrigation Administration’s budget for 2021, Sen. Lacson questioned appropriations for projects with a track record of delays and negative slippage. He also scored the Department of Budget and Management’s tagging of funds for important agricultural projects as “For Later Release.”
Sen. Lacson sponsored the budget of the Department of National Defensefor 2021, amounting to P215.705 billion. This includes P1.3B for the Government Arsenal, P139.7M for the National Defense College of the Philippines, P1.25B for the Office of Civil Defense, P842.4M for the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, and P2.177B for the Veterans Memorial Medical Center; and P209B for the AFP.
Sen. Lacson sponsored the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology amounting to P14,139,746,000, and reiterated his call to augment funding for the National Broadband Program. “I have repeatedly appealed to our colleagues to support the NBP (because) this is the new normal. Lahat umaasa sa Internet connection including DepEd, SUCs, and practically all government agencies. If we complete the funding requirements by augmenting the necessary amount, we will have a very efficient internet service available to all government agencies, including LGUs.”
In his interpellation of the DPWH’s proposed budget for 2021, Sen. Lacson questioned several issues including whopping appropriations for several districts, double appropriations, overlapping projects, modifications involving poor planning, and right-of-way costs embedded in several infrastructure projects on top of the P11.45-billion appropriations for ROWs. He also reiterated his call to set aside at least for 2021 non-priority projects such as multi-purpose buildings (MPBs), in favor of helping LGUs hit by recent typhoons.
In his interpellation of the DOH’s budget for 2021, Sen. Lacson stressed the need to find sources of funds to properly implement the Universal Health Care program. “We passed RA 11223 in February 2019, and it is our obligation as lawmakers to see to it that the law is implemented properly.“
In his interpellation of the DILG’s proposed P244.309B budget for 2021, Sen. Lacson sought to restore the Quick Response Funds for the PNP and BFP, whose personnel have been frontliners even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Lacson also proposed possible amendments to the PNP Law to raise entry-level salaries particularly for its lawyers, doctors and chemists.
On the first day of floor deliberations on the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill, Sen. Lacson revealed several ‘skeleton projects‘ of the DPWH to illustrate “how acts of corruption are committed than by the misuse and abuse of public funds. Not anymore by the hundreds of thousands but by the millions of pesos wasted during implementation of the national budget.”
Sen. Lacson suggested that the funds for the skeleton projects, including at least P68B for multi-purpose buildings (MPBs) go to items that need funding more in the budget, such as the National Broadband Program. He also questioned the ‘FLR’ (For Later Release)practice of the DBM.
I’ll join Senate President Sotto’s call to retain the P16.4-billion allocations to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The fund is not even at the disposal of the security sector since it is part of the Special Purpose Fund under the Assistance to Local Government Units (ALGU) and is intended to hold and develop barangays that are cleared of New People’s Army (NPA) influence.
As such, it will go to development programs such as farm-to-market roads and livelihood, as part of confidence-building to prevent the insurgency problem from returning.
With this, affected barangays will no longer be vulnerable to attempts by the NPA to recruit members especially from indigenous peoples. Pagkakataon ito pati sa mga NPA sa mga lugar na ito na magbagong-buhay.
The insurgency problem is more than 50 years old, easily the oldest in Asia. It is time we take the needed steps to address the insurgency problem.
In his interpellation at the hearing tackling the proposed Virology Institute of the Philippines Act, Sen. Lacson gets clarifications from DOST officials on the bill and its progress. He also pushed for the bill’s immediate passage. Sen. Lacson is the author of the Senate version of the bill (SB 1543).
Regardless of the constitutional issues involving the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 budget bill, it is still good that the Senate has enough time to approve our own version, leaving room for the bicameral conference and submission to the President for approval, thus avoiding a re-enacted budget.
Late yesterday afternoon, I submitted my Finance Subcommittee C report covering all the agencies assigned to me as Committee on Finance Vice Chair, in compliance with the Oct. 26 deadline set by the Committee.
However, I based my report on the National Expenditure Program, with a caveat that necessary adjustments will be made once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted by the House.
Now that the GAB is available as reported, once we get hold of our copy, I’ll make adjustments based on the House version of the budget bill.
From The Daily Tribune: In response to a 24 October editorial of the Daily Tribune, Senator Panfilo Lacson’s camp wrote that the legislator is not ready to give the House of Representatives’ version of the General Appropriations Bill the benefit of the doubt regarding the measure being free of pork.
The DPWH Secretary has full authority to assign personnel under his department, including the district engineers, unless he delegates it to his regional directors or if Malacañang overrides the assignments on very few occasions.
We also know that district representatives almost always use their influence in having their “favorite” district engineers assigned to their districts for a very obvious purpose: to have full control in the implementation of their “pet projects” funded by their insertions in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The question is, can the DPWH Secretary stand up to the pressure exerted on him by the congressmen? As we already know, the answer is obviously no. And no matter how the secretary denies it, nobody is ready to believe him. We also know that it is the root cause of corruption.
Almost anything that has to do with politics in this country breeds corruption. Politics becomes evil when self-aggrandizement and greed come into play – whether it is in aid of reelection or enrichment of an elected official while in power, the result is the same. Worse, these people do not know when to stop once they have started.
We only need to drive around the country to see and experience it everyday, in the form of dilapidated and substandard roads and bridges and other infrastructure projects. Potholes and clogged drainage are commonplace during and after the rains; worn-out infra projects even only after a few years of construction and inaugurations, and many more evidence in plain sight.
In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ‘violations’ by the House in passing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill
* possible institutional amendments for R&D, COVID vaccines
* implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
Last Oct. 16, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021. Yet as of today, it continues to tackle amendments via the so-called “small group.”
Art. VI, Sec. 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution is unequivocally clear, regardless of where the amendments will come from. Wala namang sinasabi ang Constitution na pag naghahabol ng “errata,” hindi ito applicable: “Upon the last reading of a bill, NO AMENDMENT THERETO SHALL BE ALLOWED, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.”
Amid promises of “best efforts” to transmit the budget bill by end-October, if the House still ends up transmitting the bill on Nov. 5, does it mean that the description “House of the People” is all lip service?
It is timely that the President has raised the corruption issue involving the much-abused budget under the Department of Public Works and Highways, coming as it did at a time when we had just deliberated on the proposed 2021 budget of the department.
During the hearing, I relied on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) and the “mangled” or “mutilated” version of the DPWH’s late submission.
The mangled version alone – which contained a pattern of decreased budgets for national projects and increased budgets for local projects – is highly questionable considering that such submission should have only detailed the lump sums in the NEP that Malacanang submitted to Congress last Aug. 25, but not to amend what was originally submitted, which is the exclusive function of the Congress as part of the budget process, thus – Preparation, Authorization, Execution and Accountability.
It has become an open secret that commissions or kickbacks have become the rule rather than the exception in the implementation of public works projects involving not only some corrupt officials of the department but some legislators as well.
Fact is, contractors openly talk behind the backs of these officials, changing the definition of “mabait” and “maginoo” in the process: officials from the executive and legislative branches who ask for “only” 10 percent are “mabait, maginoong kausap” and those who demand 20 to 30 percent are “matakaw,” while those who demand advance payments and renege on their word as “balasubas” and “mandurugas.”
That being said, if no substantial adjustments are made once the final version of the 2021 GAB is transmitted to the Senate, hopefully next week as promised by the new Speaker, I intend to propose during our plenary debates to cut or realign the excessive and unjustified “NEP amendments” that the DPWH illegally made.
In his interpellation of the proposed 2021 budget of the DPWH, Sen. Lacson noted a “mangling” of the entire appropriations of the agency – totaling P666,474,289,000 – beyond recognition. “Hindi na natin makilala!”
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: * effect of reenacted budget on COVID-19 response in 2021
* connection between DPWH lump sums and delay of budget bill in the House of Representatives
It is the President’s option to do whatever is necessary, even taking a “direct” hand in resolving the Speakership issue, with the timely passage of the 2021 national budget as his only consideration. After all, anything that has to do with national interest should involve the President.
This is one credit I would give to the President. As the leader of the coalition of political parties in the House of Representatives, I don’t think there is impropriety if he steps in to resolve the impasse between conflicting groups that are both his allies anyway. A few calls to the leaders of those coalitions can simplify matters.
Having said that, how can the Senate accept a printed copy of an unapproved House version of the budget bill, as proposed by Speaker Cayetano? We can only file a committee report once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted to us after it has been approved on third and final reading. Why do they have to wait for Nov. 16 to approve the budget on third and final reading? I can’t understand any of this.
Our priority in the Senate remains the same – to pass on time a national budget that will allow us to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This includes scrutinizing the budget bill to make sure huge sums are not lost to incompetence or greed.
From People’s Journal: From unwavering fidelity to the Constitution to high fidelity to life-enhancing technology, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson relentlessly pursues practical but meaningful legislation. Motivated by the pressing need to strengthen the country’s digital backbone, Lacson thankfully threw his full support behind the government’s plan to provide free Wi-Fi, especially in far-flung areas, and to set up a national broadband program.
Between Oct. 12 and 14 when the Senate is originally scheduled to receive the transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill from the House of Representatives, and Nov. 17 when the Speaker said they will be able to transmit the same to us, is definitely not a one-day difference as claimed by Speaker Cayetano.
With that said, I have just suggested to the Speaker if it’s possible for him to resume their session, which is merely suspended and not adjourned, before All Saints’ Day just to approve on third and final reading the House version of the budget measure and thereafter transmit the same to us.
I also told him the senators, especially the finance committee vice chairpersons, need at least one week to study the House version and submit to the mother committee our reports. Another week will be needed for the finance committee to consolidate everything and file its committee report. In so doing, we can start floor debates immediately after we resume session on Nov. 16, or even before that.
That is the only way we can ensure the timely passage of the budget measure. We cannot afford an impasse involving the most important piece of legislation that Congress has to pass: the national budget, which I have consistently regarded as the lifeblood of our economy, if not our country.
Desidido si Senador Panfilo Lacson na itulak ang pagkakaloob ng malaking pondo sa pambansang gastusin sa susunod na taon ang national broadband program at libreng Wi-Fi.
Nakikita kasi ng mambabatas na ang mga programang nabanggit ang magiging pundasyon para tumibay ang ekonomiya ng bansa.
“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” banggit ni Lacson sa pagdinig ng Senado sa panukalang badyet ng Department of Information and Communications Technology at National Telecommunications Commission.
Ayon kay Lacson, ang maasahang ICT system ay nangangahulugan ng mas maraming oportunidad para sa mga Pinoy na maipakita ang kagalingan at abilidad.
“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” dagdag pa ng mambabatas.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday threw his full support behind the government’s plan to provide free Wi-Fi especially in far-flung areas, and to set up a national broadband program.
Lacson said he will push for a bigger budget for the two programs, as he noted these will serve as the backbone of the country’s economy.
“This is the backbone of our economy. In this day and age of modern information technology, we have no reason not to catch up or to be at par with neighboring countries, considering that potential investors’ first concern would be internet speed,” Lacson said at the budget hearing for the Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission.
“I am a believer in ICT because there is so much we can do if our ICT is efficient,” he added.
In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* options on further actions regarding anomalies at PhilHealth
* possible use of questionable sums in DPWH budget to address budget shortage for health care in 2021
Kung hindi pa isinasantabi ng administrasyong Duterte ang gyera sa ilegal na droga, bakit binawasan ang mga kahilingan o proposal ng DDB mula P520.4 milyon to P344.5 milyon; at ng PDEA mula proposal na P4.911 bilyon to P2.731 bilyon sa NEP?
Habang nag-issue ang Pangulo ng EO 66 noong 2018 para magkaroon ng multi-agency approach ang gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng PADS (Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy) kaya pinasumite ang 61 ahensya ng budget para suportahan itong strategy, apat lamang ang pinabibigyan ng pondo ng DBM ng P2.053 bilyon sa ilalim ng NEP.
Pati ang mga augmentation na ginawa ng Senado para sa kanilang 2020 budget ay isinama sa “FLR (For Later Release)” at hindi ni-release: P81.9 milyon sa DDB at P106.1 milyon sa PDEA, ayon sa DBM Circular 580. Dahil dito, nadiskaril ang kanilang mga nakalinya na at umiiral na mga PAPs tulad ng ICT training at pambili ng ICT equipment.
Tuloy dapat ang laban sa illegal drugs, may COVID man o wala. Kaya naiintindihan ko ang hinaing at pakiusap ng DDB at PDEA sa pagdinig kahapon tungkol sa 2021 budget nila kung pwedeng madagdagan ng Senado ang kanilang tinapyas na budget.
May kasabihan tayo: Tulak ng bibig, kabig ng dibdib. Iyan ba ang nangyayari ngayon sa laban sa ilegal na droga sa kabila ng libu-libong napatay na mula noong 2016 pa?
I would have manifested that hundreds of thousands of mouths are still waiting to be fed just to survive, and that the agency should at least mind those poor souls.
I would have insisted that the DSWD utilize the P10 billion for distribution, instead of prematurely declaring the same as “savings” after it scaled down the number of cash aid beneficiaries by four million households.
In actual fact, I sent an official letter to DSWD Sec. Rolando Bautista more than a week ago on behalf of a listed beneficiary family who I do not even know or have met, that has been following up to receive their SAP subsidy but to no avail. Not being arrogant or trying to throw my weight around, I have not even received a “yes” or “no” response even from a clerk of DSWD.
If this is not failure of planning, preparation, coordination and implementation, I do not know how to describe it.
Sen. Lacson chaired the hearing for the 2021 budgets of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, Mindanao Development Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.
At the start of the hearing, Sen. Lacson noted all three agencies were recipients of congressional initiatives initiated by his subcommittee and eventually included in the 2020 GAA. “Unfortunately as we all know, medyo tinamaan tayo ng COVID, so ang iba nabawasan, ang iba di na-release at all.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson stressed the importance of ensuring regular funding for the OPAPP’s normalization program, as part of government’s long-term commitment to the peace process. The OPAPP aims to decommission 40,000 combatants by 2022, according to OPAPP Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. “Since this is a program, dapat recurring budget ito under OPAPP because this is a long-term commitment…We cannot renege on this commitment. Otherwise sayang lang lahat na effort sa peace process natin especially with the passage of the BARMM organic act. Medyo kailangan pangatawanan natin ito,” Sen. Lacson said.
It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.
We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.
In our continuing efforts to scrutinize the 2021 National Expenditure Program, particularly on the issue of “re-appropriations” and “lump sum appropriations” involving infrastructure projects under the DPWH, we have found that the initial amount of P73.5 billion covering 2,933 items has now ballooned to P135.8 billion involving 5,913 projects – thus effectively increasing the total questionable appropriations to P532.3 billion from the initial P469 billion that we exposed earlier, including lump sums in the amount of P396.4 billion.
Considering the projects under “Operations” in the proposed budget of the DPWH has total appropriations of P613.1 billion, easily 87 percent or P532.3 billion is deemed questionable.
Having said all that, a legal question needs to be addressed as we progress in our plenary budget deliberations: Will this kind of “errata” be allowed by the Senate, or Congress for that matter, if the items to be rectified do not involve simple typographical errors or other similar minor errors like interchanged or misplaced items in the NEP?
Therefore, if my colleagues will not allow such major rectification, we may see a 2021 GAA that is reduced by more than half a trillion pesos.
At the hearing on the 2021 budgets of the Commission on Audit and Office of the Ombudsman, Sen. Lacson stressed the DBM has no authority under the Constitution to issue a discontinuance against a constitutional body such as the COA – after noting that the DBM issued a budget circular providing for the discontinuance of Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) of COA amounting to a total of P173M under the 2020 budget as they were categorized as congressional initiative and as “For Later Release.”
“My point is, Mr. Chairman, under the Constitution – particularly Sec. 5, Art 9-A, it provides for the automatic and regular release of the annual appropriations of constitutional commissions. And COA very clearly is one of three constitutional commissions, Comelec and CSC being the others. Of course even the judiciary,” Sen. Lacson said as he also cited jurisprudence (Bengzon vs Drilon, GR 103524), where fiscal autonomy allows the constitutional bodies and the judiciary full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. “So pag sinabi nating fiscal autonomy, walang pakialam ang DBM.”
COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo said that while they are okay with the DBM’s decision “considering the difficulties the govt was having with funding in view of the pandemic,” he would agree that “it’s a violation of fiscal autonomy under the Constitution.”
“I’d like to manifest this very clearly, let this not serve as a precedent for future issuances by DBM; huwag lang gawing precedent setting ito. If I may add, emergency or no emergency, hindi pwedeng precedent ito,” Sen. Lacson said.