Abad should be charged over IRA

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BUDGET Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, mastermind of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and this government’s devious definition of savings from which could be drawn funds for its discretionary spending, should face charges for withholding the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) during the last election year. The Commission on Audit (COA) reported earlier that in 2013, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) failed to release P302.8 billion automatically to local governments, violating a provision of the 1987 Constitution.

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The Commission alleged that the deparment headed by Sec. Abad violated Section 6, Article X, General Provisions of the Constitution: “Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.”

Sec. Abad disputes the audit findings. “We do not withhold these appropriations and they have always been released without condition or delay,” he said in a press statement. “All agency transactions between the DBM and LGUs in 2013 have been properly documented.”

The Commission’s report also carried the Budget department’s response, saying that its management and release of the IRA was legal under Executive Order 292. The department explained it needed to manage the IRA “… to segregate the funds intended for LGUs with that of the funds for its regular operations.”

The Commission disagreed with the Budget department’s position, and so do we. According to the audit report, the Constitution mandates the automatic release of the local governments’ share of taxes collected. And in our view, the Constitution trumps all other laws, including Executive Orders.

Political undertones

The fact that the funds were withheld during the 2013 elections buttresses the need for an investigation of the department and its secretary. Only the naive would dismiss the possibility that the delay in disbursement was a political ploy to control incumbent officials at the local levels during the elections.

Looking ahead, the Budget department should be clear whether or not its process now complies with the Commission on Audit. The Aquino government should eliminate suspicions that LGU funds will be manipulated to favor its candidates in the next elections.

Local government units are vulnerable. For municipalities, the IRA accounts for nearly 90 percent of their total revenues. And even though cities can raise some of their own funds, they still need the IRA for about 50 percent to 70 percent of their revenue.

If control of the LGUs is the intent, then one of the likely beneficiaries is no other than their supposed champion – the secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party. Remember that Sec. Abad was the Liberals’ campaign manager in the 2010, and he stayed on as senior party leader. Their problem is that Sec. Roxas has the smallest of chances to win as President of the Republic, if the surveys are to be believed. To us, the silence of Sec. Roxas on the IRA issue offers clues as to why he remains so undersirable in the surveys.

Without funding, local governments are unable to provide basic services to the people. That makes us wonder why local officials need to beg the national government for their rightful share of the taxes. Cannot local governments remit only the national government’s share and retain the rest?

Sec. Abad, along with his department, has many questions to answer and issues to clarify. Unless he does so in the soonest time possible, he should be compelled to explain himself in court.

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12 Comments

  1. Leodegardo Pruna on

    A BAD man should be accountable to mischief committed in his office and should not be allowed to leave office without paying his debt. Otherwise, the country will end up always in the hands of fools. God bless the Philippines.

  2. juancho ramas on

    This guy has been lording over this Administration with impunity for the longest time! Who’s gonna make him accountable? Obviously he knows he can get away with it or have I spoken too soon!

  3. former cong mandanas of batangas filed a case with supreme court against abad for not releasing immediately the ira of lgus. this is one of the reasons why mandanas was replaced as the chair of the house ways and means committee. i wonder what happened to the case?

  4. sonny dela cruz on

    If Leila De Lima will be running for Senator comes 2016. Don’t ever vote for her to be one of them. She is a no kind of a person who will serve the Filipino people. She has shown her personality as a protector of B.S. Aquino who never say anything whenever the President violated the Philippine constitution. She even side with the President that the President is not violating any laws. I guess she running for Senator just for the PORK BARREL AND NOT TO SERVE THE FILIPINO PEOPLE. IT WILL BE A BIG MISTAKE IF SHE WILL BE ELECTED AS ONE OF THE SENATORS.

  5. It seems that the heads of the Cabinet of this administration as well as the head itself does not care about Laws, time honored procedures and practices, as well as the local government units and therefore ultimately the public.. Basking in their popularity and public goodwill the first few years they have run national goverent like a private kingdom with Pnoy as king …. Our legislature and judiciary lacks the balls to call a spade a spade while until recently institutions like Philconsa Ibp and others have been and many continue to be muted by threats of BIR Amla DOJ running after them … PCCI MBC the FCCI and other business groups are silent wallowing in privilages and incentives …. Poor Juan de La Cruz … He now is a personification of Edwin Markham’s “Man with the Hoe”

  6. it not only the DOJ that is doing nothing but the ombudsman!…isn’t it this ombudmsan claimed that they could investigate any public official even without a complain! In this time, it is really selective justice….where is the stopping of corruption!!!

  7. sonny dela cruz on

    Now, what is the DOJ doing? Why can’t they charged Abad for the law violations. Is De Lima doing her job as the DOJ chief or is she waiting for the President to make the decision for her. She should start making investigation regarding allegation of law violation if there is merit to charge Abad for the said violations. Leila De Lima I am sure is a YES SIR person, not serving the Filipino people as a PUBLIC SERVANT SUPPOSE TO BE. She is only doing what the President wants. Ms. Leila De Lima, you’re position is not a JOKE, even you are appointed by the President you are suppose to serve the Filipino people and nothing more, with this allegation you should be on top of it and look for the truth or not of the allegation. Don’t let the people call you an SSB to the president, your obligation is to the Filipino people. Even though you are an appointed person, you should act as an independent department.

  8. Catalino Garcia on

    ABAD is A BAD guy. Alcala, Abaya, Petilla, and Purisima are some of the thieves that surround the president, who claims he is not a thief.

  9. If Abad is guilty of violating the constitution by withholding IRA funds from LGUs, he should go to jail. Abad has done a lot of weird things to the people’s money under his custody, and none benefited the people.