As Congress tackles nextâ€™s years annual budget, Congress should assert its constitutional power over the purse by seeing to it that all state revenues are reported and reflected in the yearly national budget.
The practice of the executive branch to exclude so-called special revenues from the national budget should be discontinued and declared invalid because it goes against the basic principle of transparency and accountability.
Not all income and disbursements of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, as well as the remittances of these two gaming agencies to the Presidential Social Fund, are reported to Congress for review and approval.
This practice is unhealthy because it means that these funds are being handled in a secret manner, giving officials of the executive branch full discretion on where and how they can be spent without being held accountable for such transactions.
It also circumvents the appropriation powers of Congress.
The collection of the multi-billion peso government royalties from the commercial production of the Malampaya natural gas had been one of the tightly-guarded secrets of the executive branch. As a result history revealed that this has become a source of corruption as the money ended up in the pockets of a few people.
The money was supposed to be part of the income of the Philippine National Oil Company and deposited with the National Treasury. It is primarily intended to finance the energy exploration projects of the government.Â Unfortunately for us Filipinos, it was siphoned somewhere else.
Unless all incomes of Pagcor and PCSO are reported and stated in the annual statement of receipts and expenditures of the national government, there will be no end to the malpractice of using these cash-rich agencies as milking cows of abusive executive officials in power.
A provision should be inserted into the General Appropriations Act mandatorily requiring all state agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, to declare all their revenues and expenses, and submit them to Congress during the presentation of their budgets for the incoming fiscal year.
Tthis is part of a package of measures which should enable Congress to strengthen the institutional mechanism to check the financial transactions of the executive branch and restore its exclusive power over the purse that has been eroded through acquiescence to the intrusion or usurpation of such power by the Executive branch. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)