MANILA – If he had his way, former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno said he would not ask Congress to file a supplemental budget to continue the implementation of projects under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III said that in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling declaring parts of DAP unconstitutional, he will seek a supplemental budget for 2014 to continue the implementation of projects under the controversial program.
The president said this is to ensure that basic services will continue to be brought to the Filipino people even without the DAP. He also said that after the SONA, Malacañang will submit a proposed P2.606 trillion national budget for 2015.
Diokno, however, said asking the Congress to pass a supplemental budget for the current year, even if the proposed budget for 2015 is already in sight, would not be practical.
"Nariyan na rin naman yan ang 2015, dala-dalawa pang budget ang pag-uusapan,'' he told dzMM.
Diokno said passing a supplemental budget needs a certification from the National Treasury assuring the availability of funds.
He added that the government will also have to identify tax measures that will support the supplemental budget.
''May ganoong requirements iyan eh. Alam naman natin na ayaw ni presidente ng new taxes 'di ba? So may ganoong twist iyan,'' he said.
''Ang pinakamalinis eh isama mo na lang sa 2015 kung ano ang kailangan mo."
Diokno also scored the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) item in the national budget. The MPBF is a lump sum of unspent funds for unfilled positions in the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of government.
Critics have tagged MPBF as the president's own pork barrel.
Diokno said savings from the MPBF must be brought back to the national treasury, now that the SC has already declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and parts of DAP unconstitutional.