Ex-budget chief cool to testifying before Senate
MANILA - Former Budget Secretary and now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya is cool to the idea of voluntarily facing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation on the pork barrel scam.
The panel began its hearing Thursday with Commission on Audit chairwoman Grace Pulido Tan discussing her agency's special report on Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) disbursements from 2007 to 2009 - when Andaya was still budget secretary.
"I don't need to be there to explain. I can explain, I think they (the hearing) were able to explain the role of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), how it gets to the implementing agency. It clears up the air on the role of each department and the flow...how it gets to certain NGOs have been cleared up."
Andaya added: "Hindi lang yun ang avenue. There are other avenues if there's a need to explain further after watching the Senate yesterday it was made clear. Sen TG Guingona showed it quite well."
Parliamentary courtesies prevent one chamber of Congress from compelling the attendance of a member of the other chamber in their hearings. Members can only be invited or voluntarily face any hearing.
Andaya said the itemization of the remaining lump sums under the suspended PDAF for 2013 will proceed and will be implemented by the concerned departments.
"Tama yung sabi ni Secretary (Butch) Abad, ilalagay na sa departments, ang mag-iimplement na ,departments, even for this year. Klarong klaro naman kung gagawin for 2014 gawin na rin this year. I think Congress will exercise self- restraint at susundan ang kumpas. Ang kailangan dito is restraint in choosing only basic [projects]. "
The tighter rules will already be implemented, such as the exclusion of non government organizations.
There will also be consultations on how to implement the tighter rules on PDAF.
"We are supposed to do away with PDAF. That will be the first order, tanggalin yung PDAF. As to yung bagong sistema, yung sinasabi ay we also have to look into yung pag operationalize nung budget itself and how it would be effective in delivering services," Andaya said.
"There will be massive consultation. The Speaker already indicated guidelines - no NGOs, no consumables. Gagawin na bagong patakaran - wala na fertilizer, seeds, yung hindi madaling ma-account tatanggalin yun at ibabawal yun. Yung passing the budget on time is also a constraint. I expect in the coming days there will be consultation with party leaders and individual congressman," he added.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Isidro Ungab previously committed to the timely passage of the 2014 budget before the end of the current year.