POSSIBILITY

There maybe no need to submit a supplemental budget to continue projects stopped after the disbursement acceleration orogram was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court.

 

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad held out that possibility at the sidelines of the submission of the proposed 2015 national budget to congress.

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SUBMITTED

 

The government has asked congress to approve a 2.6 trillion peso national budget for 2015—the year when politicians start preparing for the 2016 presidential elections.

Budget secretary butch abad led the executive branch officials in submitting the budget to the House of representatives, where all budget bills must originate. The budget is contained in 6 volumes, 4 of which comprise the national expenditure program.

An initial examination of the budget shows over 500B or 25% of the budget are lump sum funds under the control of the executive.

Abad said, “The total amount is that pertains to the special purpose funds that I have mentioned is 501, 670 billion or about 29 percent of the new GAA. The rest are department and agency budgets and that’s about it.

Over all This is 15.1% higher than the 2014 budget, to target  areas with high poverty incidence, high poverty magnitude and  high disaster risk.

967.9B is earmarked for social services of which 64.7B is for the  conditional cash transfer program for 4.4M beneficiaries. 37.2B  earmarked for health insurance to cover 15.6M beneficiaries. 52.7B for basic educational facilities—31728 classrooms and 13586 water and sanitation facilities.

For the bangsamoro basic law, 2.7B has been earmarked for various agencies. 7.3B will go to thePAMANA to implement peaceful resettlements.

174.%B will be allotted for the DPWH roads and bridges program; p2B for the TESDA scholarships and 592M for the NAIA1 rehabilitation project.

45.1B will go to flood control, 139M for cleaner air and 99M for waterways.

All in all 700.2B will go to economic services, 399.4B for debt burden, 115.5B for defense and 423.1B for general public services.

In the President’s budget message, the executive insisted that the supreme court failed to consider all legal bases in striking out the disbursement acceleration program. The budget seeks to institutionalize a dap like mechanism— The budget proposal seeks to ask congress to allow the executive to declare savings by the first semester of each year—similar to  national budget circular 541 that facilitated the DAP. Continue reading

HINTS

When President Aquino delivered his penultimate state of the nation address Monday, one thing he mentioned that raised eyebrows were the following lines—which appears to refer to a destabilization plot or threat to his life.

“Alam po ni Vice President na noong 1987, nagkasama kami, may kudeta, na-ambush po tayo doon, at tapos noon ay pangalawang buhay ko na po ito. Hindi natin maiiwasang mag-isip sa mga binubunggo natin, may araw kayang pagsampa ng entablado ay ito na ba huling araw,  may magtatagumpay bang maglagay ng bomba; magtatagumpay ba iyong mga maiitim na balak ng atin pong mga katunggaling gusto tayong ibalik sa maling kalakalan. At kung dumating nga ang panahon pong iyon atnatapos na po iyong ating pangalawang buhay, masasabi ko ho bang sa lahat po nang inaabot natin, ako po masasabi ko kuntento na ako. Kuntento na po ako dahil panatag ang kalooban ko na kung ako po’y mawala na dito, marami po ang magpapatuloy ng ating tinahak na; baka iyon lang po talaga ang papel ko, na umpisahan ito.”

In another part of the speech, the chief executive also talked of how some of his political enemies want to undo the progress and reforms he claims his administration led in the country.

“Ganito ko nga po naisip ang ating situwasyon: Para tayong mga mamamayang matagal na naipit sa isang isla kung saan may nag-iisang tindahan. Dahil walang pagpipilian, nagpapataas sila ng kanilang
presyo kung kailan nila gusto, at talaga nga naman pong inaabuso tayo. Inatasan po ninyo akong itimon ang bangka ng estado tungo sa kabilang isla, kung saan mas maraming tindahan, mas maraming pagpipilian, mas maayos ang buhay, at mas malawak ang pagkakataon. Siyempre po, ang
nagpapatakbo ng tindahan sa isla na ating nilisan, ayaw tayong pumalaot, dahil mawawalan sila ng inaabuso. Lahat, gagawin nila para pigilan ang ating pagtawid sa kabilang pampang: Sasabihin nilang
pareho lang naman doon; wala naman talagang pagbabago doon. Itatali nila tayo sa daungan, bubutasan ang ating bangka, makikipagkuntsabahan para iligaw ang ating biyahe” Continue reading

OLIVE BRANCH

President Aquino’s allies say he offered an olive branch to the supreme court when he called for legislation to address the reasons why his disbursement acceleration program was struck down by the high court.

In his penultimate state of the nation address Monday, Aquino said, “Ipinapanukala namin ang pagpasa ng supplemental budget para sa 2014, upang hindi naman maantala ang ating mga programa at proyekto. Kasabay po nito, nananawagan din tayo sa pakikiisa ng Kongreso, upang maipasa ang isang Joint Resolution na maglilinaw sa mga depinisyon at kaisipang tila pinagtatalunan pa—at iba pang mga usaping kayo lang sa lehislatura, bilang mga nagsulat ng batas, ang makakapaglinaw.”

The DAP withdrew funds midyear from unimplemented projects and realigned them to other items. The court found that the president;s power to augment from savings doesn’t cover this.

The administration has appealed the ruling and maintained the funds were spent in good faith and were neither plundered nor squandered.

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte says the palace has yet to bare details of their plans. “Olive branch l think. No details yet. But we are certainly willong to pass the supp budget, as well as a more definite definition of savings. We will also approve a strong oversight coommittee.”

Amid the 3 impeachment complaints against Aquino, the proposed 2015 national budget, the bangsamoro basic law bill, Belmonte says they will have to come up with a definition of the savings the president can tap. “Certainly not something you have left ober on dec 31. Did you think that congress last night would impeach? Hehe.”

House Majority Leader neptali Gonzales II said, “The fact that PNoy said in his SONA speech that there might be a need for Congress ro approve a supplemental budget and a jt reso defining savings is a clear indication that he will abide By the decision of the SC should their MR is denied. We will expedite consideration of both upon filing of the same in the House.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Isidro Ungab said, “Congress will immediately respond and act on Executive Branch’s proposed  supplemental budget for the projects left hanging by DAP’s nonimplementation.  Alam naman natin na ang kahalagahan ng mga programang nabitin kaya’t asahan ng Ehekutibo na aksyon agad ang ating tugon.”

Estrada Administration Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno doesn’t agree with the proposal of the president. “Aquino was less combative, some say emotional, compared to his previous SONAs. He continues to justify the unlawful DAP, though subtly this time. His plan to submit a supplemental budget to take care of DAP related projects is puzzling. A supplemental budget requires identifying a specific funding source like new taxes. It’s better to incorporate the additional funding requirement in the 2015 national budget. There’s still time. The president has 30 days after his SONA to submit a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. This appears to be the most logical approach.”

Diokno also doesn’t think it’s an olive branch. “Mr. Aquino’s request for redefinition of savings by  congress is unprecedented. It shows his continuing resistance to the SC unanimous decision. This is bad for the economy and the need to strengthen political institutions. He needs to move on. He needs to spend more time and effort finding solutions to the monumental  challenges that face the country today. Time is running out for him. Past presidents did not see the need for redefining budget concepts. What if his allies in Congress redefine budget concepts to suite his objectives? That will not be the end of it. I’m sure some constitutionalists will question such acts before the SC. Where and when will this end? I find the existing budget rules clear and fundamentally sound. They’ve been enriched by the two recent SC decisions on PDAF and DAP. Let’s move on. Let it be.”

The Palace has yet to make known its plans. Marikina rep. Miro quimbo said some of the possible projects that will be covered can be easily determined. Quimbo admits the definition of savings must be further clarified. Quimbo added that the juggling of funds has been a practice even of previous administrations.

In the end he agress, its time to move on. Quimbo noted that the SC decisions on the DAP and PDAF, both outlawed as unconstitutional proves that the SC is strong, while the legislature is the weakest branch of government.

For his part,  Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon warned of a possible constitutional crisis arising from President Benigno Aquino III’s request for Congress to pass a joint resolution to clarify the definition of certain budgetary terms.

“Aquino’s call on Congress to pass a clarificatory resolution that would enable a change in the definition of such budgetary terms like ‘savings’ is a clear challenge to the Supreme Court’s decision on DAP. The president is overtly asking Congress to legislate his version of the DAP story, in effect urging the Legislature to join forces with the Executive Branch in defying the third branch of government,” Ridon said.

 

“The president’s pronouncement may spark a constitutional crisis, and is a clear sign of his dictatorial tendencies,” the lawmaker added.

 

A constitutional crisis is a situation wherein separate branches of government disagree about the extent of each branch’s power, usually arising from a dispute on the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution.

 

 

A joint resolution passed by both chambers of Congress has the force of law once signed by the president.

 

“When the SC strikes down that resolution, what will happen next? Aquino’s mindless pronouncements may just have sparked a clash between government branches,” Ridon pointed out.

 

“By directing Congress to formally legislate the Executive Department’s interpretation of the term ‘savings,’ Aquino is blatantly defying the SC decision. Not only has Aquino committed contempt of court, the president is also inviting a clash between branches of government.

 

(statements, Quimbo sot)

PENULTIMATE

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESSOF HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES BATASANG PAMBANSA, QUEZON CITY JULY 28, 2014

Maraming salamat po. Salamat po. Maupo po tayong lahat. Salamat pong muli. Maupo po tayo.

Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos; Senate President Franklin M. Drilon at ang mga miyembro ng Senado; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. at mga miyembro ng Kamara de Representante; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at ang ating mga mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang- galang na kagawad ng kalipunang diplomatiko; mga miyembro ng Gabinete; mga opisyal ng lokal na pamahalaan; mga kasapi ng militar, pulis, at iba pang kawani mula sa ating unipormadong hanay; mga kapwa ko nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan; at sa aking mga Boss, ang mga minamahal kong kababayan: magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Ito po ang aking ikalimang SONA, isa na lamang ang natitira. May kasabihan po tayo: Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan. Kaya marapat lang po siguro tayong magbalik-tanaw:

Noon, sa sitwasyon natin: Para bang kahibangan ang mangarap. May burukrasyang walang saysay, patung-patong ang tongpats, at bumubukol ang korupsyon sa sistema. Naturingan tayong “Sick Man of Asia.” Ang ekonomiya natin, matamlay; ang industriya, manipis. Walang kumpiyansang mamuhunan sa atin pong bansa. Ang resulta: kakarampot ang trabahong nalilikha. Dinatnan nating tigang sa pag-

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PENULTIMATE

When President Benigno Aquino III delivers his penultimate state of the nation address Monday, he will be addressing a nation reeling from the high prices of commodities and services, high unemployment, increased criminal activity, a struggling agricultural sector, a problematic transportation infrastructure, the slow pace of the rehabilitation of areas destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda, the pork barrel scandal and the unconstitutional disbursement acceleration program.

Aquino will be speaking before a plenary hall full of allies, mostly lawmakers who benefitted from DAP, some of whom are also being investigated for the pork barrel scam and who themselves will be poised to hear 3 impeachment complaints filed against Aquino over the DAP and the enhanced defense cooperation agreement signed with the United States. The EDCA has been seen as a way to blunt china’s advances in its maritime disputes with the Philippines over the west Philippine sea.

Many of those in the hall will also have a moist eye on the 2016 presidential elections that will pick Aquino’s successor.

Outside the halls of congress, there will be protests against Aquino’s rule, as he hits one of the lowest points of his 4 year old presidency as reflected by the recent drop in his public approval ratings.

His communication Secretary, Sonny Coloma, says the President may rally the people around him.

will tackle all the country’s most pressing issues head on in his speech.

“kung ang pagbabatayan ay ang mga nakaraang SONA ng Pangulo, maaaring tingnan ito bilang isang pagkakataon na kung saan siya ay magpapaliwanag hinggil sa mga mahahalagang programa sa reporma na itinaguyod ng kanyang administrasyon bilang pagtupad sa social contract with the Filipino people… sisikapin ng Pangulo na maipaliwanag sa mga mamamayan ang iba’t ibang aspeto ng mga mahahalagang programa sa reporma at himukin silang makiisa sa mga ibayong pagpupunyagi para matamo ang mithiin ng bansang Pilipinas.”

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BACKING

House Minority leader Ronaldo Zamora backs the house leadership’s decision not to implement yet the suspension order on detained former president, now Pampanga rep. Gloria macapagal arroyo.

Zamora says he prefers to abide by the constitutional provision that empowers only the House to suspend its members. ”If (fpgma) deserves to be suspened suspend her don’t allow sandiganbayan to take rap for you do it yourself and give her a chance to explain why she shouldn’t be suspended.”

The sandiganbayan ordered arroyo suspended pending trial for a graft case on the nbn zte deal.

Arroyo faces a separate complaint for plunder over the alleged misuse of some 500M in PCSO funds.

House speaker sonny Belmonte had decided to wait for the plenary to decide if it will abide by the suspension order.

TRANSPLANT

House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora has oped not to back the impeachment of president aquino, citing among other reasons, his scheduled kidney transplant because of his failing kidneys.

Zamora will go under the knife august 19, 2014. Zamora told reporters that his kidneys are failing so he looked for donors early on.

“I’m going through surgery it will take me out for a month. I have a date. With my surgeons it will be next month. That’s when everything come out for impeachment budget bangsamoro these are things I don’t want to miss.” Continue reading

ADVANCER

When President Aquino takes center stage Monday for his penultimate state of the nation address, he will do so in batasan pambansa that has been spruced up and specially secured for the annual speech.

The plenary hall’s flag has been changed. The hall’s leaking ceiling has been repaired while the air conditioning and sound systems were also fixed. The hall will be filled with as many as 1000 people in its galleries. Senators and congressmen, most of whom are Aquino allies, will occupy prime seats on the floor, while VIPS’s from the Vice President, the justices of the supreme court and constitutional bodies, members of the diplomatic corps, guests of the lawmakers and other guests of the lawmakers and executive will fill the batasan’s 3 galleries. Access to the galleries during the speech will be on a strictly no invitation, no entry basis. Continue reading