MANILA — The Aquino administration remains committed to pursuing reforms to improve the plight of the people, a Palace official said.
In a phone interview with reporters on Wednesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the crafting of the 2015 National Budget is above board and is in line with the Constitution and other laws.
He was commenting on reports that former Congressman Augusto Syjuco has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, claiming that the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2015 is unconstitutional due to the inclusion of lump sum allocations.
“Lahat naman po ay ginawa para tiyakin na tumatalima tayo sa Konstitusyon at sa batas, at nasa proseso na rin po ng hudikatura ito (We are doing everything that we can to ensure that we follow the Constitution and the law and this is also in the judicial process),” Coloma said.
“Basta patuloy po ang determinasyon ng ehekutibo na ipatupad ang mga mahahalagang programa sa reporma na magpapaunlad sa ating bansa (The Executive [body] is determined to implement important programs for developmental reforms).”
In an amended petition, Syjuco said the legislative and executive departments have managed to appropriate lump sum funds “similar to pork barrel allocations”, which had been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its rulings against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday signed the P2.606-trillion GAA for 2015, as well as the Supplemental Budget for 2014, which includes more than P10 billion for the ‘Yolanda’ reconstruction.
Of the amount, P7.99 billion has been allocated for the construction of permanent housing for the victims of the super typhoon.