Palace: Supplemental budget for SC not a bribe

By , on December 3, 2014

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MANILA — Malacanang on Wednesday said that the proposed supplemental budget for the Supreme Court (SC) is not a bribe but a budget augmentation for its electronic government (e-government) program.

“The supplemental budget will also augment the 2014 e-government fund for the Enterprise Information Systems Plan of the Supreme Court by Php 715 million,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a briefing.

Lacierda said that the fund augmentation was made since it was requested by the various government agencies and not a bribe as claimed by Bayan Muna Representative Neri Javier Colmenares.

This as the Palace awaits SC’s decision on the final ruling on the legality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Lacierda said that under a presidential system of government, it is not impossible that concerns of the legislative, executive, and judiciary intersect.

He said this is where the check-and-balance comes but also the interdependence of each branch.

”Siguro naman hindi magandang tingnan na sabihin ni Neri na suhol, na parang ang babaw ng tingin naman niya sa mga mahistrado ng Korte Suprema,” he said.

In his speech during the 2nd State Conference on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Malacanang Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III mentioned his bid to provide the SC with additional budgetary requirements.

Among the attendees of the event were Budget and Management Secretary Feliciano Belmonte, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

”Since the approving authority is present also, perhaps we can lobby them for the speedy inclusion of what is necessary to help the Judiciary in our common fight against corruption amongst others, [applause] making sure we are compliant with all the directives,” he said.

Lacierda said the President’s words about helping the judiciary should not be taken out of context since the SC really requested for budget augmentation.

The Aquino administration has asked lawmakers for a Php 23.24 billion supplemental budget to finance among others the rehabilitation program in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).