Roxas, Tiangco clash in budget hearing
MANILA – It may have been a friendly Senate, but Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas on Friday clashed with Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco at the budget briefing of the House of Representatives.
Tiangco, the spokesperson of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is an ally of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential elections.
Binay's name was never mentioned during the grilling of Roxas on why his agency has apparently taken on more tasks and funding and appeared to encroach on the turf of other agencies. However, one of the agencies affected is the National Housing Authority (NHA), which is under Binay.
Tiangco was the first to interpellate with 10 minutes. He quizzed Roxas on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) charter and whether it authorized the DILG to undertake housing projects which he said is covered by the charter of the NHA. Tiangco said this has not been repealed.
Tiangco was referring to the resettlement program of the DILG for informal settlers in waterways.
Roxas took a few minutes to go through the laws.
Tiangco initially didn't want to wait, but Roxas said, "You will have to wait. This document is not readily available." Tiangco relented.
Roxas then cited the National Expenditure Program which indicated the resettlement of informal settlers is part of the President's program.
He further cited the continuing powers of the President to reorganize the executive branch.
"In that context, we take this as one of the tasks," said Roxas.
Tiangco countered, "’Yan ang problema, laging tinuturo si PNoy."
Roxas then pointed to the constitution which granted the President the power to reorganize. "Malinaw na malinaw na dito kami humuhugot ng kapangyarihan."
Later on Roxas added, "Magreklamo kayo sa kinauukulan. ‘Di po ito agaw eksena, ‘di pataasan ng kung ano. Magtulung-tulong tayo para sa lalong madaling panahon, matulungan sa paglipat sa mga kababayan."
Tiangco tried to end up his point by saying, "Mas magaling gumawa ng bahay ang NHA."
Tiangco then moved on to the P2.7 billion budget of the DILG for potable water projects, which Tiangco argued is within the purview of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
"I will ask again what's the legal basis, this isn't within authority of DILG based on RA9475. Almost sure the reply will be the same,” he said.
True enough, Roxas said, "I cite earlier discussion. Earlier positions with respect to potable water. This has been a long standing project of the DILG."
Roxas explained that the DILG helps the LWUA in this function.
Tiangco moved into asking Roxas about the DILG's assistance to barangay foot patrol in Tiangco's district which has not been implemented. Roxas said he will look into it.
Tiangco then pointed out a transcript from the Senate budget hearing for the DILG earlier this week, and asked Roxas who he was referring to when he said before the Senate that someone may be envious of him.
“Sino tinutukoy niyo na naiinggit?" asked Tiangco.
Roxas said he didn't know, but he quipped, “Bato bato sa langit tamaan, huwag magalit.”
Tiangco also asked the DILG about police deployment to his district during the last elections, which he claimed was not authorized by the Commission on Elections. The PNP said then that they have the authority to maintain peace and order.