The Senate Committee on Finance has started looking into the 3.353 trillion proposed national budget for next year.
This is alongside the budget deliberations happening also at the House of Representatives.
At the hearing on Tuesday , Sen. Panfilo Lacson questioned the 80 million per congressman budget that is included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
He said, though the Supreme Court earlier struck down the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF for its unconstitutionality, still various legislators proposed projects to be funded through the national budget.
However, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno does not see any conflict in it.
“It is part of their job to bring some bacon to their districts. That’s part of their job,” Sec. Diokno argued.
Lacson insisted that this violates the law because only the executive department can prepare the NEP and it cannot be re-allocated by Congress.
Sec. Diokno, however, maintained that congressmen are allowed to propose budget for their constitutients.
“I know the Supreme Court has made it very clear, post-operative meaning after the law has been passed, it cannot be done. But in NEP, it is still not yet finished,” Diokno said.
Sen. Lacson, on the other hand, believes that in order to avoid law violations, budget allocations initiated by legislators should be re-aligned to other projects.
“That should be scrapped and should be re-appropriated to agencies so that legislators would not meddle to the function of the executive,” said. Sen. Lacson.
He said it can be appropriated to local government units or LGU’s that receive the least share in the national budget.
The Senate Committee on Finance will continue its briefing on the proposed 3.35 million 2017 national budget tomorrow. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue