Romualdez bloc welcomes Belmonte’s proposal to create audit committee
• July 29, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
THE House independent minority bloc welcomed yesterday the proposal of Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. to create the Public Accounts and Audit Committee aimed at scrutinizing public funds, but challenged him to make good of his promise by granting their very similar long-standing request to revive the congressional oversight committee.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, head of the bloc, Buhay Hayaang Yumabong party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said Belmonte’s proposal was very laudable provided this would materialize to detect wasted money and fraud, and mismanagement of budget allocations.
“The Speaker has a very noble proposal and good intention to check wasted public funds. But everything about transparency and accountability is easier said than done. We challenge the Speaker to grant our request to revive the congressional committee on oversight because that is very similar to his proposal and that had been used in the past Congress to check the abuses,” Romualdez pointed out in an interview.
Belmonte asked the House committee on rules chaired by House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II to study the possibility of creating the panel to scrutinize the expenditures of all national and local offices using congressional oversight function aimed at ensuring further transparency and accountability in the government.
Atienza and de la Cruz, both members of the Romualdez bloc, agreed with the Leyte opposition leader, stressing there is a need to further improve the checks and balances in the government following a Supreme Court (SC) ruling declaring the key provisions of Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
“While it is a very good proposal, we’ve been proposing that before when we called on reviving the congressional oversight committee. The Speaker should show that something is true or real through solid actions from him, he should create it now,” Atienza explained.
For his part, de la Cruz said Belmonte should do the “challenge now because the reward is in the doing.”
“The Speaker should walk the talk by showing example. As the saying goes, everything is easier said than done,” de la Cruz said.
Romualdez recalled that his group filed House Resolution (HR) No. 268 last September after Congress decided to scrap the P25.24 billion priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel under this year’s P2.265 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“We hope the leadership will consider the revival of the oversight committee that will focus on scrutinizing DAP, lawmakers’ abolished pork barrel and other financial disbursements under the national budget because it has a very wide scope,” Romualdez stressed.
“The most important thing is we are trying to provide focus to the congressional functions. The people would not want their representatives to be remised in their duties. We will focus on efficiencies and transparencies in the releases of public funds,” Romualdez said.
He said the oversight committee will also ensure that performance of different government agencies are monitored, especially in meeting revenue targets to further promoting transparency and accountability in the government.