Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

The draft bill, which is presumably crafted by Malacañang, for consideration by the special session, clearly indicates the following:

  1. It authorizes the President to juggle funds and even abrogate appropriations like the grant to: (a) cancel appropriations and generate forced savings; and (b) “reprogram, reallocate and realign any allocations in the FY 2020 GAA for whatever purpose the President may deem necessary”, both of which demean the congressional power of the purse and could be used by the President to tame the majority and minority.

  2. The foregoing provisions in the bill on the “cancellation” and “reallocation” of appropriated funds may constitute “transfer of funds” prohibited under Section 25 of Article VI.

  3. It is an affirmation that adequate funds have been provided for in the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) which could be aptly utilized to respond to the national crisis consequent to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. Although the President is being granted the emergency power to realign the subject funds, such power may not be necessary because: (a) the social amelioration and pro-poor objectives of the funds, particularly those in the DOH, DSWD, DOLE, DTI, and DA, are clearly implementable without further realignments; and (b) under the General Provisions of the GAA, the President is already granted the power to use savings and to augment deficient funds of projects and programs from such savings.

  5. The bill is neither a supplemental budget nor an economic stimulus package as it does not raise any fresh funds to meet the public health emergency.

  6. It is also an implementation of the constitutional provision under Section 17 of Article XVII which provides that: “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.”

  7. It basically contains a continuation of the Executive’s initiative to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and a restatement of the existing laws against hoarding and profiteering, as well as exceptions to the procurement process provided for under R.A. No. 9184 or the “Government Procurement Reform Act” and related laws.