House leader prods senators on 2019 budget transparency

Rolando Andaya Jr.

IN the spirit of transparency and accountability, House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rolando Andaya again asked the senators to give the public full details of their realignments in the 2019 national budget.

In a statement, Andaya said that while he welcomed the admission of the Senate   that it slashed more than P80 billion of the 2019 budget, he said the senators failed to state the items they realigned.

“The Senate must stop its striptease act now,” Andaya said.

“Our people demand full transparency and accountability in the national budget. Let them know the full details of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill, which we transmitted for signature of the President,” he added.

Through its Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office ( LBRMO) chief, the Senate confirmed that the budget cuts were realigned to fund the senators’ pet projects and programs.

However, Andaya said the Senate until now has not yet made public the items and amount it amended.

“What I cannot understand is her explanation that the senators’ realignments were already made known to the public. The figures I released over the past days with regard to the senators’ post-ratification adjustments were never disclosed to the public by the Senate. Kung matagal na pong alam ito ng publiko, hindi na ito ibabalita ng media. Journalists do no report old news,” he stressed.

The LBRMO chief Andaya said stopped short of admitting that the Senate submitted the realignments to the House of Representatives bit by bit from February 11 to March 8, several days after both chambers ratified the Bicameral Conference Report on Feb 8.

“Naiintindihan ko naman ang posisyon ng ating LBRMO chief. She cannot contradict earlier statements made by the Senate President. But I believe a good employee must be ready to tell his Boss when he’s wrong. Wrong advice, wrong decision,” Andaya said.