MANILA – The Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) yesterday filed a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the ‘scandalous and unconscionable freight’ lump sums and discretionary funds in the 2015 national budget.
Philconsa asserted that these funds of over P424 billion were ‘cleverly embedded’ in nine departments and two agencies of the executive branch, which were ‘highly vulnerable to the whirligig of transactional, rent-seeking and patronage politics.’
The petitioners then asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt the government’s implementation of Sections 65, 70 and 73 of the 2015 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and to issue notices of disallowance to all releases and disbursements from the said provisions.
“Realignment of allotment classes and reprioritization of items of appropriations are species and varieties of transfer and augmentation prohibited under Section 25 (5), Article IV of the Constitution,” the 30-page petition read.
Philconsa also sought that the SC issue cause order against Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and the Congress for ‘flagrant disobedience, resistance and disregard’ on the Court’s earlier ruling on the unconstitutional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“This case is the golden and historic occasion for the Supreme Court to establish an impregnable wall to block the genre of conscienceless politicians and pol tics to politicize, pollute and desecrate the Constitution in the preparation and implementation of the General Appropriations Act,” the petition continued.
The petitioners were Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Chairman Manuel Lazaro, former Senator Francisco Tatad, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, and Catholic Archbishops Ramon Arguelles, Fernando Capalla, and Romulo de la Cruz.