Press Release
November 19, 2013

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

SPFMD: We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court. Susunod po kami. Para sa senado, moot and academic na ito dahil nitong nakaraang buwan, sinabi na namin na we will not avail of the PDAF in the 2013 budget. Sa 2014, 15 na kami na nagsabi na tanggalin sa budget ang aming alokasyon sa PDAF. Dahilan po sa hindi magagastos ang about P14.5 billion PDAF funds which cannot be used since the SC declared unconstitutional the PDAF. Then, there is no PDAF in the 2013 budget. Therefore, there are unused funds of at least P14.5 billion, I would propose that we already pass a supplemental budget to the tune of P14.5 billion, which will be used now by the government for relief and rehabilitation of provinces ravaged and destroyed by Yolanda, earthquake, Zamboanga sieg para may magamit ang pamahalaan ditto sa relief at rehabilitation.

SPFMD: Sa atin pong Saligang Batas, ang supplemental budget ay kailangan ng certification from the National Treasurer as to the availability of budget. There are no questions about the certification that is needed to be issued since there are available funds and these are the PDAF which could not be released in view of the ruling of the SC. I would urge the immediate passage of the supplemental budget bago matapos ang taon dahil these funds are no longer as the General Appropriations Act for 2013 would expire by December 31. The supplemental budget must be passed before the year ends. I would discuss with our chairman if we will give priority to the supplemental budget when it comes to us. It must be first passed by the HoR, and once the passed it, then I would propose to suspend the deliberation of the 2014 budget and discuss and pass this supplemental budget. Then resume the deliberation once we passed it.

The supplemental budget being an appropriation must come from the House, hindi sa Senate. Walang rason na hindi gagawin ito ng House dahil sa hindi magagamit at wala ng PDAF sa 2013 GAA.

Q: What happened if it remains unused?

SPFMD: Then it goes back to the national treasury at hindi na magagamit para sa mga nabiktima ng bagyo. You cannot even realign PDAF kasi binura ng SC ang PDAF sa 2013 budget, so walang pwedeng i-realing.

Q: Sir, paano yung sa 2014 budget na yung iba opted to re-align the funds supposedly for PDAF to line agencies?

SPFMD: Titingnan muna natin ang ruling ng SC kasi ang prinsipyo kaya nag-declare na unconsititiuonal because of the participation of the legislators in the budget execution. The constitution empowers to craft and approve and appropriate public funds, but the matter of execution of the budget is the power of the executive. After the budget is passed, then the legislators would specify projects to be funded, then that is what is objectionable, because the congressmen and senators should not participate in the budget execution. The identification of projects after the budget is signed is declared unconstitutional because it encroaches upon the power of the executive. The principle is the legislators should not be allowed to identify projects after the budget is passed.

Q: in expediting, does that need for Congress to stop the clock?

SPFMD: No. stopping the clock is completely different; you stop the clock when you are running out of time. In this particular case, the House, I assume, will pass a supplemental budget and once it gets to us, I would recommend that we suspend the deliberation for 2014 to give way to the supplemental budget, because time is of the essence. We need to pass the supplemental budget before December 31, otherwise the funds will go back to the national treasury.

Q: Iyon din yung pera, Sir?

SPFMD: Iyon din yung pera. Kaya sa Saligang Batas, you need a certification as to the availability of funds. The funds are there only that it cannot be appropriated for PDAF because the PDAF is declared unconstitutional.

SPFMD: I will talk to Speaker Belmonte on this.

SPFMD: In our case, we have 15 senators have decided to delete the PDAF in the national budget which will be about P3 billion which now reduces the deficit by the same amount. The deficit now is P266.2 billion. Correspondingly, the borrowing level will be reduced by P3 billion because of this decision.

Q: Will you appeal the decision?

SPFMD: You can only appeal that to heaven. From the very start, our position is we would submit to the discretion of the SC and in fact, we did not file any pleading. We did not favor nor oppose the petition.

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