Unconstitutional! Duterte can’t reallign 2020 budget like what Abad did with DAP – Zarate

Unconstitutional! Duterte can’t reallign 2020 budget like what Abad did with DAP – Zarate

Unconstitutional! That’s how Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate  calls the plan to give President Rodrigo Roa Duterte powers to reallocate the sending items in the 2020 budget even if the real intention was meant for the best interests of the millions of Filipinos facing the threat of the novel coronavirus 2019 disease or COVID-19 crisis.
Zarate an outspoken critic of the Duterte administration said the special powers to be given to Duterte during this national emergency on COVID-19 was a “surplusage” considering it will give him powers to tap the sources of government owned or controlled corporations and the savings in the Treasury.

“Bakit bibigyan pa ng power para galawin ang buong budget? Di pa ba sapat napayag iaugment ang gastos sa mga saving?” asked Zarate during the House debate on a bill allowing Duterte to declare a national emergency.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate
(photo credit to owner)
This is the controversial provision cited by Zarate: “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, reprogram, reallocate, and realign any appropriation in the FY (fiscal year) 2020 GAA (General Appropriations Act) for whatever purpose the President may deem necessary and desirable to fund measures to address and respond to the COVID-19 emergency, including social amelioration for affected communities, and the recovery and rehabilitation of areas where the emergency is subsiding. All amounts so reprogrammed, reallocated or realigned shall be deemed automatically appropriated for such measures to address the COVID-19 situation.
The Bayan representative cited Article 6, Section 25, Paragraph 5 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “no law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations.”
Zarate even cited a Supreme Court Ruling that the bill is in direct violation on the ban on cross-border funds policy based on the ruling of the Supreme Court in the 2015 case of Araullo vs Aquino.

In declaring as illegal the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) crafted by then Budget Secretary Butch Abad, the High Court declared that the executive could not withdraw unobligated allotments from implementing agencies declare these as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year. The DAP promoted the cross-border transfers of the savings of Malacanang to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive.
The Ombudsman indicted Abad for unlawfully usurping the powers of Congress by effectively modifying the provisions on savings in the General Appropriations Act of 2012 when he issued National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 541, which consolidated savings or unutilized balances and withdrew unobligated balances of agencies with low levels of obligations.

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