Malacañang has assured the public that the 2015 national budget was within the bounds of the Constitution.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday said the Aquino administration was duly guided by the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions in crafting the proposed budget.
“In preparing the National Expenditure Program upon which the newly approved General Appropriations Act was based, the executive branch adhered to the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of the land,” Coloma added.
When President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed the GAA on Tuesday, he pointed out that it no longer contained any allocations for Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was outlawed by the Supreme Court (SC).
But in his 20-page amended petition, former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco said lump sum funds “similar to pork barrel allocations” were appropriated despite the SC’s earlier ruling declaring the PDAF as well as parts of the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
These lump sum items include: the President’s Special Purpose Funds amounting to P501.67 billion or 29 percent of the 2015 budget; and the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting amounting to P20.9 billion.
Syjuco said the appropriations do not indicate “discernible items” that may be subject to the President’s veto power, which would be in violation of the Philippine Constitution.
“These lump-sum appropriations connote that the appropriations law leaves the actual amounts and purposes of the appropriations for further determination of the executive,” he added.
Aquino also on Tuesday said there are no “pork” allocations, which he called magnets for corruption, in the 2015 budget.
He, however, made no mention of funds that are allegedly similar to those under the controversial DAP.
Also on Tuesday, the President also signed the 2014 supplemental budget of more than P10 billion for reconstruction of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.
Of the amount, P7.99 billion has been allocated for construction of permanent housing for the disaster victims in the Visayas.