House appropriations chair mulls defunding corrupt agencies
In this September 12, 2020 photo, Rep. Eric Go Yap inaugurates a molecular lab in Benguet.
Photo from Governor's Office-Benguet via Facebook
House appropriations chair mulls defunding corrupt agencies
( - October 29, 2020 - 2:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations is mulling an investigation into allegations of irregularities in government agencies with the goal of defunding those found to be swamped with corruption.

“We have oversight functions, and as appropriations chair, we will ensure that the funds being given to them are being used correctly and not in corruption,” Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) told reporters Thursday.

Yap said the panel’s probe will initially focus on agencies that collect taxes, like the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and will expand from there.

If the committee’s investigation will prove that corruption persists in those agencies, Yap said he will move to defund them during the bicameral conference committee meetings to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the proposed budget for next year.

"If they will not correct this, why should we give them funding? It would be better to rechannel funding to agencies that need it," he said.

Lawmakers have, in the past, threatened to to slash agencies budgets. In 2017, the House voted to give the Commission on Human Rights a budget of P1,000 for the year for what legilslators said was a bias against the government.

The biggest effect of defunding a government agency would be to the salaries of its officials and staff. It will also not be able to provide the services that its mandate requires.

Aside from defunding corrupt agencies, Yap said they would also submit findings from the investigation to the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice.

President Rodrigo Duterte has recently formed a task force led by the justice department which is tasked to investigate corruption in the entire government.

The Constitution already provides for a body to investigate corruption in government called the Office of the Ombudsman. — Xave Gregorio

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