1987 Constitution, battered charter (4)

Cross-border augmentation from savings is prohibited by the Constitution. Did any cross-border transfers or augmentations transpire?

During the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on 28 January 2014, then Secretary Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management admitted to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Lucas P. Bersamin of making some cross-border transfers.

The first instance had to do with a request from the House of Representatives. They started building their e-library in 2010 and they had a budget of about P207 million but they lack about P43 million to complete its 250 million requirements… They wrote to the President requesting augmentation of that particular item, which was granted.

The second instance was a request from the CoA. The Commission on Audit needed information technology equipment as well as consultants and litigators. They requested funds from the Executive and the President approved it.

The records showed, indeed, that funds amounting to P143,700,000 and P250,000,000 were transferred under the DAP to the Commission on Audit and the House of Representatives, respectively.
Those transfers of funds were indeed cross-border augmentations for being from the Executive to the CoA and the House of Representatives.
According to Abad, CoA requested funds for information technology equipment as well as for hiring consultants and litigators but in the CoA central office, it was made to appear that the P143,700,000 include the purchase of new vehicles.

CoA insiders, however, reportedly decried Tan’s plea for new vehicles because the grounds of the CoA central office were crawling with all sorts of brand-new cars and vehicles for officials and unit heads.

It was not the only son of the mother of the 1987 Constitution that delivered “body blows” against the Super Body nurtured by Cory. The appointees of her son in the Commission on Audit delivered the body blows as well including violation of human rights. Almost simultaneous with the issuance by Abad of his unconstitutional NBC 541, Tan also issued her similarly unconstitutional, unnumbered memorandum circular dated May 10,2013, which turned CoA from a collegial body into a mere bureau.

Under this “unnumbered” circular Grace Pulido Tan placed the overseeing audit of national and local government agencies and corporate bodies under the exclusive jurisdiction of Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, the partisan, incompetent, and untruthful whose only peculiar merit has been her propensity for making false and malicious speculations without visible and incontrovertible evidence.

It is interesting to recall that Grace Pulido Tan was a longtime protégé and associate of the Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima in the GMA administration, and when Purisima engineered the mass resignation of the Hyatt 10 group in July 2005, Finance Undersecretary Pulido Tan resigned with them. When the Noynoy Aquino administration came into power Purisima persuaded her to take the CoA chair’s post. Then the Hyatt 10 officials were ferociously clinging to their various posts amid the gargantuan corruption charges, their lips sealed.

As a lawyer-CPA, Tan should have known that the cross-border transfers, in the memorable imagery of the Supreme Court, were unconstitutional and she should have ruled them out. CoA Accountancy Office Chief and then Assistant Commissioner Jaime Naranjo informed her office about that. But she ignored the information and her Assistant Commissioner for Accountancy.

As SC Justice Arturo Brion pointed out, DBM Chief Butch Abad could not have known about the illegality of DAP and his NBC 541 — as a lawyer and with 12 years of experience behind him as a congressman, who even chaired the Committee on House Appropriations. He was even the mentor of scam lady Janet Napoles and utterly loyal to former president Noynoy Aquino.

What transpired after the issuance of (Abad’s and Pulido-Tan’s) circulars and issuances may now be described as the BLACKEST PAGE in our history, as far as budgeting and auditing processes are concerned.

Our next episode on Tuesday, 18 October 2022, will cover “the doctrine of executive fact.”

(To be continued)

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