Aquino to sign 2014 budget on Friday
President Benigno S. Aquino III will sign the proposed P2.264-trillion national budget for 2014 on Friday, December 20, House Majority Leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II said during the weekly Ugnayan Sa Batasan forum.
“The President will sign the budget on Friday. I already got the invitation from Malacanang,” he told reporters.
Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said the Congress-ratified spending bill is now being reproduced in preparation for the President’s signature, noting that it has 3,225 pages.
“It is not possible to transmit the budget right after the ratification of the budget kasi ireproduce pa ang GAA and its 3, 225 pages so we must give about four to seven days allowance,” he said in a separate interview.
As scheduled, the House of Representatives ratified the 2014 budget, which Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares claimed remains ladden with a total of P1.2546 trillion presidential pork barrel.
He continuously scoffed at Malacanang’s gesture not to itemize the lump sum funds in the national budget for 2014.
“Lump sum is a pork barrel kasi si Presidente lang ang magdedesisyon kung saan mapupunta. Ayaw ng Malacanang na i-itemize, sinasadya nilang hindi itemize para kaya nilang galawin, kaya nilang maibigay sa kaalyado nila, at maipamudmod sa kaibigan nila,” he told reporters in an interview.
He said while this is a good news for the allies of President Benigno S. Aquino III, it is a sad news for those who were affected by past tragedies that hit the country, branding the P14.6 billion supplemental budget, which was ratified by Congress and was already transmitted to the presidential desk as a “presidential pork.”
“The P14.6 billion rehabilitation fund is a lump sum fund, ayaw nilang i-itemize so that is considered as pork barrel. Kaawa ang mga biktima hindi makakaabot sa kanila, even ang calamity fund,” Colmenares said.
He explained that the P1.2546 trillion presidential pork includes the off budget funds.
The deputy minority leader said the congressional bicameral panel should have asserted the Legislative’s power over the budget by insisting that President Aquino itemize these lump sums.
“Now these funds are open to corruption or patronage politics in the run off to the 2016 elections.We should not allow ourselves to be a rubber stamp of the executive,” Colmenares pointed out.