'Rehab for money addiction': Lacson slams lawmakers over budget hearing suspension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 15 2018 12:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 15 2018 02:17 PM

MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday slammed the House of Representatives for suspending budget deliberations as its members protested the new cash-based budgeting expected to slash funds for new projects by P300 billion.

The House indefinitely suspended budget hearings last week "to be consistent with the position of the House to oppose cash-based budgeting."

"Some congressmen are protesting the budget cuts for 'their infra projects' aka PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund)," Lacson said in a tweet. 

He was referring to lawmakers' discretionary funds that were scrapped after a multibillion-peso fund diversion scheme was busted several years ago. 

Since then, Lacson has been closely looking out for insertions of discretionary funds in the national budget. 

"They need massive detox and full rehab so they can lick the more dangerous addiction for money," Lacson said without naming particular House members.

Under a cash-based budget, government agencies will only be allowed to appropriate funds and bid out projects that can be completed within one year.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said the government will shift to cash-based budgeting to address underspending in several departments.

House members wants to revert to obligation-based budgeting as it allows government agencies to allot funds for projects that can be completed beyond one year.

On Monday, the Senate also suspended budget deliberations.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate supports the new budgeting system but will have to wait for the House to resume budget hearings. 

"The ball is with the HOR. We support the executive proposal," Sotto said.

Both chambers of Congress must approve the General Appropriations Act before the budget can be enacted into law.