- Posted October 24, 2013 by
Phl senator asks: Where’s P130B?
Recto on Thursday said at least P40 billion of the funds have already been spent, but there are no records to show where the remaining funds were used or impounded.
"Where’s the P130 billion cash, is it gone?” Recto asked. “It’s possible that it has been spent without telling us that it came from.”
Recto said the government collects nearly P30 billion a year from the Malampaya project, and will do so until 2016.
"I’m not blaming the Aquino administration but I’m saying let us put some order in the house.”
The senator understands certain situations when the President should be allowed to realign funds to address immediate and emergency concerns that need funding, but he said there should be limitations to what the President can realign.
Recto pointed out that flexibility is necessary, but not in this big amount where there are several identified lump sum items.
“I’m with the President and (Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad) on certain mechanisms. It is possible that (realigning is) legal but not good budgeting practice,” he said.
Although he viewed the realignment as a wrong move, Recto asked: “Can the President realign the budget? In any way? I don’t think so. The party (Liberal Party) should talk on this matter.”
A known ally of President Benigno Aquino III, Recto believes that proper budget procedures should strictly be followed to avoid speculations.
"I don’t fault the President for accelerating the spending. The purpose is good if it’s legal. But is it right to realign all these? I don’t think so."
Recto’s personal view on DAP came amid speculations that a big chunk of the funds in question was pocketed by lawmakers and only a small portion of it went to different government agencies they identified.
It was learned that certain programs of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) also benefitted from DAP.
This includes the P2 billion funding for the Project Noah, which President Aquino himself gave the department headed by Science Secretary Mario Montejo.
"It was the President who gave us the instruction," Montejo said. “If you can recall Typhoon ‘Sendong’, the need to have an early warning as soon as possible is already a program of DOST (Department of Science and Technology) and we’re only accelerating this.”
The secretary found nothing irregular about the funding since the amount went directly to the improvement of facilities of DOST's attached agencies.
Meanwhile, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Pia Cayetano have different stories involving the controversial DAP.
Lacson said he gave part of his DAP to the baby food field-testing program amounting to P40 million.
On the other hand, Cayetano gave about P6 million for the science bus project.
"As much as possible, we want to follow budgeting. If we have DAP, where did it come from? Eventually, we’ll ask that. Later on, we will know how the planning and execution of their budget was done, "Recto said.
He added: "Everything should be clear in the 2014 budget deliberation.”