Press Release
June 23, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed the belief that Malacañang still wants the 2006 national budget passed by Congress despite the claim that a reenacted 2005 budget gives President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the discretion to spend P48 billion worth of pork barrel funds.

Pimentel said that the Arroyo government stands to lose P150 billion in additional funding if the P1.053 trillion budget for fiscal year 2006 is not approved.

Non-approval of the new budget means a reversion to the P907.56 billion budget last year.

Pimentel said the reenacted 2005 budget only gives the President limited spending authority.

If the new budget is passed, she will be able to spend legitimately more than double the P48 billion that is possible under the reenacted budget. Also, she will have her fingers into the huge EVAT (Expanded Value Added Tax) revenues, (amounting to about P75 billion) and other monies specified in the budget for the new projects too, he said.

That is why the loss of interest on the part of Malacañang in the new budget is only for show.

Pimentel also said the apparent lack of determination on the part of Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House appropriations to save the 2006 budget contrasts with the open appeal of Budget and Management Secretary Rolando Andaya to the senators and congressmen to find ways to break the budget deadlock.

Salceda speaks only with the Malacañang go-signal. If the wind blows towards a different direction, the chairman of the House appropriations committee will act accordingly, he said.

That is why his posturing should not be taken at face value.

Pimentels opinion differs from that of Senate President Franklin Drilon who has given up on any hope of having the 2006 budget passed by Congress due to lack of material time.

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