Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday rejected a House lawmaker’s proposal to reduce the budget of corruption-riddled government agencies saying it is not the appropriate solution to stop corruption.
“(That’s) good media copy, but not the appropriate remedy,” Drilon said, reacting to ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap’s proposal.
“Will Congressman Yap reduce the budget of PhilHealth because of corruption in that agency? Will Congressman Yap reduce the budget of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) because of reports of corruption among barangay chairmen in the distribution of SAP (social amelioration package)?”
“Even a reduced budget can still be plundered if handled by the same corrupt officials,” Drilon stressed.
The minority leader pointed out such plans would only hurt the beneficiaries of the state health insurance agency and the DSWD’s cash assistance program.
“Why will you punish PhilHealth, or SAP beneficiaries, especially during this pandemic, for the acts of its officials?” he pointed out.
“Effective prosecution of corrupt officials, and strengthening the anti-graft laws, and not the reduction of the budget, are the proper and more effective remedy,” he said.
Yap, on Thursday, said the House Committee on Appropriations will separately investigate graft-ridden government agencies and slash or scrap the budgets allotted to these offices.
The House lawmaker said they would investigate these agencies during the two to three weeks while the Senate is deliberating on the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for 2021.
According to Yap, he would propose to the bicameral conference committee deep cuts to the budgets of corruption-tainted agencies and or defund them and transfer their budgets to other agencies that need more funds.
He also said the findings of the committee would be submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman.
We will investigate this … because if they cannot correct this, why should we give them a budget? It would be better if we re-channel funding to agencies that need it, like the DOH (Department of Health),” Yap said.