A reenacted budget arising from a House-Senate deadlock will result in a spending regime fraught with legal landmines, which will grant the executive branch wide discretion on how public money will be spent.
This warning was aired by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in prodding the two lawmaking chambers to hammer out a compromise over the P3.76 billion spending bill.
“I am a hopeless optimist. At the end of the day, I am sure whatever differences there are will be reconciled, whatever gaps there are will be bridged,” he said.
Recto said there are “dangerous gray areas” in public spending if the government will operate on a reenacted budget next year.
“Madaling magsabi na re-enacted budget na lang, pero in operational terms, mahirap gawin iyon sa panahong ito,” he said.
“To cite one example, in the case of completed projects, who will decide where the funds will be applied? In this post-DAP era, is the DBM empowered to make such expenditures in the absence of clear legislative authority?” Recto said.
“Kung may P20 million na pondo sa isang kalsada at nagasta na nung 2017, at tapos na ang proyekto, may karapatan ba ang executive na itakda kung saan ilalaan ang perang ito?” Recto asked.
“Will it have the power to substitute? If they will do it, then is it arrogating upon itself the power to appropriate which it does not possess in the first place?” he said.
“Kung hindi naman pwedeng gastahin ang pera sa mga proyektong tapos na, it will result in the contraction of government expenditures, which will drag down economic growth and derail the government’s ‘build, build, build’ drive,” Recto said.
“A freeze in public spending will be bad for the economy. If we will be spending P300 billion less than what is projected, it will have a dampening effect on the overall economic scorecard,” Recto said.