THE House of Representatives assured the public that the allocations in the newly ratified 2019 national budget of P3.757 trillion will pass legal scrutiny if ever these will be challenged before the Supreme Court.
In a press briefing, House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairman Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso stressed that the Constitution provides that no money shall be spent out of the Treasury unless budgeted by the Congress.
“Kami po sa House of Representatives ang binigyan ng Constitution ng authority para magpasa. All bills and appropriation shall originate from the House of Representatives,” Veloso said.
Members of the House submit the planned expenditures of their respective districts to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which in turn consolidates the submissions into a proposal.
“Under Section 25 (of Article 6), we cannot increase, we can only decrease the proposed expenditure. We can re-align in the process… Kami, pinapasa lang namin ang budget, period. Kung magkakaroon ng nakawan wala po sa Kongreso,” Veloso added.
For his part, House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. allayed concerns that appropriations for each Representative run contrary to the Supreme Court order prohibiting lump sum funds.
“What the Supreme Court said is there should be no post-enactment involvement ng Congress. Everything that you want to have in the budget, where it should go, how much, should be indicated in the budget,” Andaya said.
He also clarified that a baseline figure for appropriations of each Representative was established, but it was adjusted according to the needs of the district.
“Natural dahil may mga lugar na ang distrito ay mas malaki, may distritong mas maliit, may lugar na mga nasalanta ng bagyo, so bibigyan mo ng atensyon yun. So naturally magkakaroon ng konting diperensiya. But the general rule is equitable. It’s not equal, equitable depending on the need of the place,” Andaya said.
“I don’t think there is a district which is not in need of any government service. I cannot think of a district that does not need any assistance from national government,” he added.
He further revealed that politicking was not given room as all districts received their fair share of the budget.
“No district should be left behind. So, walang zero dito. Walang maze-zero rito. Lahat ng distrito regardless of how the Representative voted, may makukuha galing sa budget na ito yung kanilang distrito. And of course the other instruction was no retreat, no surrender. So, I think we’ve been successful in that and putting in place the House of Representatives in its proper place when it comes to the order of power, when it comes to budgeting,” Andaya said.