MANILA - The budget for the maintenance and office expenses of politicians should shrink once the government shifts to federalism, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said Friday.
Under the administration party's proposed federal set-up, the current 24-member Senate will expand into a 33-strong chamber as each federal region will be represented by 3 senators.
Pimentel said the public should not worry about the possibility of spending more taxpayers' money on salaries of politicians.
"'Yung kapangyarihan na hawak nila ngayon ay hindi na pareho ang hawak nila sa ilalim ng federal kasi nabigay na 'yan (ibang kapangyarihan) para sa ibang opisyales," Pimentel said in an interview on DZMM.
(The power these officials hold now will be different under federalism because some of their responsbilities will be delegated to other officials.)
"Therefore, ang maintenance budget ng mga opisinang ito ay dapat lumiit na kasi mapupunta sa ibang opisyales," he said.
(Therefore, the maintenance budget of their offices should be reduced and transferred to other officials.)
He said regional governments are also allowed to abolish several offices to save funds.
Under federalism, the national government will be in charge of security, foreign affairs, and banking so each region won't need to spend funds on those areas, Pimentel said.
The national government may also spend less as the programs and concerns on education will be delegated to the regions, he said.
Under the current Constitution, the government must allot the biggest chunk of the annual budget to the Education Department.
But Pimentel's willingness to cut allocations for politicians is not yet set in stone as the legislative branch has yet to agree on the Constitutional changes that will be made should Congress convene as a constituent assembly.
On Wednesday, the Senate and House leaderships agreed to temporarily set aside a deadlock on the mode of voting to focus on the "substance" of the proposed charter change.