Senate okays CoA, Ombudsman budget

The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the 2023 proposed budget for the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman, amounting to P13.8 billion and P4.781 billion, respectively.

During the Senate hearing, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara asked state auditors how much and what items were slashed in their proposed budget by the Department of Budget and Management under the NEP.

Assistant Commissioner Roland Pondoc said there was a P455 million decrease for personal services and a P268 million decrease in the proposed budget for its maintenance and other operating expenses.

“The total decrease is P723 million. And that is why we’re requesting this honorable committee if we could restore the P723 million in our budget,” Pondoc said.

He reiterated the need to restore the budget cut in their proposed budget, citing that it will affect the operations of the state auditing body.

For his part, Angara said that he will look into the matter.

“We will do our best… We acknowledge your request and also to place in the record that this committee, the Senate, has increased the CoA budget for the last four years and probably even longer,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman will receive the same amount of budget under the National Expenditure Program.

Under the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023, the Ombudsman will receive P4.781 billion.

Likewise, Angara asked Ombudsman Samuel Martires what items were slashed by the DBM under the NEP.

Martires said they originally asked for an additional budget of over P6 billion, however, he refused to do, citing that he understands the present predicament of the country.

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