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House gives ombudsman P8-M intel fund

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives is giving the Office of the Ombudsman an intelligence fund of P8 million for next year to strengthen its campaign against corruption in the bureaucracy.

“We are providing them an intelligence fund of P8 million in recognition of the good work the office has done. This is P5 million more than what they have for this year, ” Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, appropriations committee chairman, said yesterday.

He noted that in recent weeks, the ombudsman has suspended or removed from service several police officers and elective and appointive officials.

During the committee-level hearing on the proposed P1.8-billion 2016 budget for her office, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said she was using the intelligence fund to field investigators all over the country to verify and document complaints against public officers. But the fund was not enough so she had to augment it from savings and other available appropriations.

In the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam for instance, she said, the ombudsman’s investigators had to trace the supposed numerous beneficiaries of questionable projects funded by lawmakers.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez then suggested that the appropriations committee increase the Ombudsman’s intelligence fund by P10 million.

Ungab said his panel also adopted certain suggestions of Rodriguez that upheld the fiscal autonomy and independence of the ombudsman.

In her comments on the special provisions proposed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the use by her office of its budget, Morales said these would encroach on her agency’s constitutionally guaranteed independence.

“Subjecting the appropriations of the Office of the Ombudsman to restrictions and limitations would certainly subvert and weaken the very purpose of the grant of fiscal autonomy. Fiscal autonomy is broader than just the automatic release of appropriations. It includes other rights like the non-imposition of restrictions on how appropriations shall be utilized,” she explained.

She frowned upon the DBM-proposed requirement for her office to return to the general fund of the national government any unspent appropriation.

 

 

 

ACIRC APPROPRIATIONS DAVAO CITY REP DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ISIDRO UNGAB OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN OMBUDSMAN OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO-MORALES ORO CITY REP RUFUS RODRIGUEZ
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