Supreme Court too fickle to define savings, says Palace

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The Supreme Court is not in a position to clarify the definition of government savings because it is fickle-minded, the Palace said on Saturday.

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Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte shot down the proposal of Sen. Alan Cayetano that President Benigno Aquino 3rd ask the Supreme Court to define savings instead of tasking Congress to pass a Joint Resolution that will allow government to declare savings even before the end of the year to fund key government programs.

“It would be better if we have a law that defines savings because we have seen that when it comes to decided cases of the Supreme Court, the justices also change their minds. There is always a change in composition of the Supreme Court,” Valte said in a radio station.

Valte cited the case of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers, which was declared legal twice before being declared unconstitutional in 2013.

“Jurisprudence (Supreme Court decisions) changes so it would be good to have legislative backup when it comes to a certain definition,” she added.

Valte however clarified that the Palace does not intend to contravene the Supreme Court decision declaring the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) illegal in asking Congress to define savings.

“I understand that there are several concerns raised about that but Congress has the power to define such and make laws. We want to prevent this issue in moving forward, and one of the best steps is to address any gaps or any gray areas in our law. In the Constitution, there is no definition for savings, so we need to legislate either clarifications or definitions into our existing law,” Valte pointed out.

Sen. Grace Poe agreed that savings should be defined by Congress, but stressed that lawmakers should consult experts such as former Budget and Management secretaries in defining savings.

“If savings is not defined, there will be confusion. Congress has jurisdiction in defining savings, and then the Supreme Court will determine, based on existing laws, if its Constitutional or not. But we can’t limit the duty of defining savings to Congress alone because we are not experts. And since we are not experts, we will be accused of attempting to contravene the Supreme Court decision on DAP,” Poe said in a separate radio interview.

Poe admitted that a Palace proposal concerning a measure cannot always be a bad thing, noting that the inputs of Malacanang in the Freedom of Information (FOI) measure passed in the Senate were good.

“Malacanang submitted a good version of the FOI. We only added penalties as to those who will violate the FOI. In fact, the Palace’s version of the FOI is almost akin to what Sen. JV (Ejercito) submitted, and he is from the opposition. It really lies on the Chairman of the Committee to balance the concerns of the parties,” Poe said.

In his State of the Nation Address, the President asked the House of Representatives and the Senate to come out with a joint resolution declaring the meaning of savings.

“We are calling on the cooperation of Congress for the passage of a Joint Resolution that will bring clarity to the definitions and ideas still being debated upon, and to the other issues that only you in the legislature can shed light on,” Aquino said.

But opposition lawmakers warned that acquiescing to the President’s request may lead to a constitutional crisis.

Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list said Aquino’s call is a clear defiance of the SC ruling on DAP.

“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.

In its ruling on DAP, the High Court said “unreleased appropriations and withdrawn unobligated allotments under the DAP were not savings, and the use of such appropriations contravened Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.”

Ridon said if Congress gives in to the President’s request, the joint resolution would only be struck down by the SC, resulting in a spiraling contest of powers between the three branches of government.

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

“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,” Ridon said.

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13 Comments

  1. Horacio B. Freires on

    The definition of the word ‘SAVINGS’ is very clear. . simple. . .but. .

    . . for Malacanang:

    Pnoy: “Cancell that 500 billion approved projects of the previous administration. . corruption yan. . yang 500 billion na budget para diyan gawing SAVINGS. . ILAGAY UNDER DAP. . (instead of bringing it back to the national treasury which is the legal procedure . . .. . Let it stimulate the economy for growth (ang ginawa pinambayad sa pamilya niya . . accelerated. . for Hacienda Luisita.) . . Yan ang matuwid na daan..!!. . constitutional yan. . .(kahit 13-0 ang decision ng Supreme Court na un-constitutional ang practice na yan. . which an abuse of Presidential power). . .”. . .

    Hindi niya ginagalang. .

    Autistic talaga. ang buwisit..!!. .matigas ang ulo sa mali. . (sa inglis.. .sori ha . : “strong will power. . in the wrong. .”)

  2. Rosauro Feliciano on

    Ordinarily the definition of saving is simple. However, when it is applied to billions of pesos, it becomes too complicated as defined by ambitious jungle philosophers for their personal agenda. These are the people who make simple things too complicated, which brain washed the mindsets of people. While it is true that it is not defined in our Constitution, it is equally true that we don’t have laws enacted by the lower and upper houses of Congress relevant to what is known under discussion as SAVINGS. So what does this mean? It does not mean that the Supreme Court has the mandate of the people to create law, and why? Simple the SC is not where the place where bills are introduced to be enacted into laws. This is crystal clear to understand that we are not even supposed to be lawyers to recognize this as factual truth; do we, unless we believe those jungle philosophers.

  3. Valte wants to prove that she is knowledgable than the SC, she will really do all even if she will put herself in a shameful act.
    Mr, Butch Hiro is correct , Pnoy only wants to legalize his unlawful act so again he will use his zombies, the congress ,valte and even Coloma to put SC into questionable situation.
    SC act as the arbiter, if pnoy will not abide on the decision of the SC and believe that he is always right in his decision we are living in a democratic government, Pnoy should be called King Pnoy.

  4. what is wrong with the definition of truth? this proposal by congress is better than nothing, compared with Ate Glo, everything is foggy, why? are you against this? has anybody remember the the two boxes of cash that was exposed in SC? you think the SC is completely clean? This law is to close the loopholes that the corrupt has been using all along, I would suggest to revamp the Constitution, it was partially copied from US, I wondered when the copied it, they did not copy it word by word, you know why? cause the powerful and the vested interest of the elite will be extinguish, if you don’t agree, why is it that there is a scandal trial, you can hear these almighty lawyers, quote the constitute and laws of theUS. ask any Filipino that settled here, they can not get away with whatever the got away doing in the PH, Ain’t the truth hurts.

  5. It is a shame no one seems to know what we call ‘savings’. Our so called high offices in the government either refuse to classify leftover money as savings for obvious reasons or make such savings as ante for the bravest corrupt politicians. As far as the simple folks on the streets are concerned…savings are funds saved at the end of a defined fiscal year, whichever that date or day it starts or ends. Our elite family of corrupt politicians obviously refuse to define savings since savings are free money for any of them to grab, which is why the poor taxpayer call them “dirty politicians.”

  6. To our leaders, please be good examples to the citizenry. Leave a legacy to our country if you want to be remembered well in our history.

  7. “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.
    BS Aquino will use it’s resolution to free himself of any liabilities when his time is up. How can the people send this shithead president to jail if congress decide in favor of malacanang and the next president will use the same tactics of BS Aquino about that stupid saving.

  8. ano na naman yan. savings lang namroblema kayo kung ano ang definition? Baka gusto nyong ibahin ang meaning para tuloy tuloy ang ligaya. Magtanong na lang kayo sa mga elementary level para klaro.

  9. Valte, you do understand what is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional. Shut up boot licker.

  10. Samuel Santos on

    I think it’s the other way (a)round, it’s Malacanang which is fickle-minded. The Supreme Court remains right-minded and prudent.

  11. the only reason why PNoy is asking congress to clarify the definition of savings and augmentation is because he knows it will be defined for him according to his wishes. he knows he’s going to get it because the majority in congress are all “the king’s men”. little does he know that if and when the taxpayers find out that they are being cheated by the administration, it will be the supreme court that will put the whole definition and clarification and the implementation thereof to a screeching halt if tasked to look at the legality of such “definition” and “clarification”. just like it did with DAP. the palace is putting the two branches of government into a collision course. the legislative and judicial branches of government. and yes, may i conclude this comment with a question. is abigail valte preempting the supreme court in whatever decisions they make when it comes to interpreting the constitution? doesn’t she know that the justices sit on the bench until they are in their seventies? lastly, why would grace poe even make a suggestion in asking for consultations from the experts of the department of budget and management when in fact the secretary himself was the one who asked congress to define or clarify it for them? isn’t that a dumb proposal? abad who invented DAP was found unconstitutional by the supreme court. if they are asked about their expert views, then we might as well just let the money flow freely and into the pockets of all the powers to be in government. and that’s exactly where the proposed 500 billion pesos go which will be PNoy’s discretionary funds. to the liberal party.

  12. Naging abogado kayo at naging mambabatas ” savings” hindi nyo alam. Ang taunang budget natin e me angkop na oras o time. na 12 buwan Nagsisimula ito pag na aprobahan ang budget. Kunyari ang ang budget ng 2015 ay nauprobahan ng Dec 2014 e di ang ” savings” e makikita after dec 2015. KELANGAN PABANG I MEMORIZE YAN?

  13. dennis robles on

    VALTE…say to yourself you are fickle-minded, that’s what you are since you started in the palace..SHAME ON YOU to say this word to the Supremem Court justices