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Palace confident 2015 budget will be approved

Presidential Communications Group Secretary Sonny Coloma

Malacañang is confident that he proposed 2015 budget will be approved before the year ends despite criticisms that the budget still has lump sums.

“Based on previous years’ experience and given the commitment of the leaders of both Houses, we are reasonably assured that the plenary deliberations will be concluded so that both Houses are able to come up with their own versions that will later on be reconciled by a bicameral conference committee and ratified by both Houses so that the proposed General Appropriations Act may be submitted for the President’s signature in December,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

On Monday, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago aim her shots at the 2015 national budget for allegedly containing “two dangerous minefields leading to corruption” —pork barrel funds and Malacañang’s definition of savings.

According to Santiago, the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Health, Social Welfare, and Labor and Employment, and the Commission on Higher Education were allotted with P37.3 billion.

Coloma denied allegations that the lump sum appropriations in the 2015 budget will be used for the 2016 elections.

Meanwhile, former Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr. filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to declare the proposed P2.6 trillion national budget for 2015 unconstitutional.

In a 15-page petition for certiorari, Syjuco said that next year’s budget contained funds similar to the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which were already declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court should declare the creation, formulation, submission and approval of the National Expenditure Program for 2015 and the 2015 General Appropriations Bill as unconstitutional and illegal,” Syjuco said in his petition.

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