Press Release
October 7, 2011


Senator Franklin Drilon yesterday said legislators will "adhere" to the fiscal independence of constitutional offices.

"We will adhere to the constitutional provision which grants fiscal autonomy to the constitutional bodies and at the same time provide for transparency in the budget so that we will know through a reporting system how the budget allocated to each agency is being spent," said Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, during a weekly forum in the Senate.

Constitutional offices that enjoy fiscal autonomy such as the Supreme Court, Office of the Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, and Commission on Elections, have protested what they called "budget cuts," saying the fund should be automatically and unconditionally released to them.

The Department of Budget and Management had said they will release funds for state agencies in the MPBF when actual hiring of unfilled positions is done. A total of P23.4 billion in funding requirement for 66,957 unfilled positions in the entire bureaucracy is included in a special purpose fund called the MPBF.

"We will not impinge on the fiscal independence of the constitutional agencies. But we maintain that as the guardians of the purse, we have the right require that such usage of the funds be made transparent. I would advocate strongly that there will be transparency," added Drilon.

In the judiciary alone, Drilon noted, about P2 billion is included in the MPBF as budget for unfilled positions.

Drilon said he will "review" and consult with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad regarding a House proposal that would prevent the realignment of the MPBF to other items.

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