Budget chief debunks Ombudsman, denies withholding P173-million COA funds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2020 07:48 PM

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MANILA - Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado on Tuesday denied allegations that his department was withholding the release of a P173-million capital outlay funding for the Commission on Audit (COA).

“I’d like to debunk, with all due respect to the good Ombudsman, na wala po kaming dine-delay dito po. Hindi po part ng national expenditure ‘yan, ipinasok lang ng Kongreso ‘yan kaya naging for later release 'yan," Avisado said. 

(We are not delaying anything. This is not part of the national expenditure, this was initiated by Congress that’s why it is classified as for later release.)

Avisado was referring to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, who had urged COA to file a case against the DBM.

Avisado, in an interview on Teleradyo, explained that Congress-initiated improvements and adjustments for agencies are classified for later release.

“Anong condition for later release? Kailangan pong mag-submit ng special budget request ang departamento, at kaakibat n’yan 'yung plano kung anong gagawin doon nila sa gusto nilang ipa-release na pondo,” he said.

(What’s the condition for later release? The department needs to submit a special budget request and how they plan to use the funds they want released.)

Under the Constitution, the executive department is not allowed to withhold funding from COA and other constitutional bodies as these entities are entitled to fiscal autonomy.

“Wala pa kaming mai-release pa dahil wala pa kaming natatanggap na budget request galing sa kanila. Hindi 'yun sa hindi namin nire-release. 

(It’s not like were not releasing the funds. We have yet to receive their budget request.)

He said agencies are well aware of the said requirements. 

The Ombudsman earlier said that it would not be wise for COA to let the alleged Constitutional violation slip and "we have to teach these people a lesson that not because they are close to the gods, they should be acting like gods."

“Wala po kaming dine-delay. (We are not delaying anything.) We are not close to gods and we’re not acting like gods kasi nabasa ko lang po ‘yan, ewan ko kung nanggaling sa kaniya ‘yan (I read that and I’m not sure if that came from him),” he said.