TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- A week after the approval of Cagayan’s 2017 Annual Budget, Board Member Rodrigo De Asis asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to approve, but later, tackle the supplemental pending Governor Manuel Mamba’s approval.
The provincial board refused to tackle the supplemental budget in the 66th Regular Session on Wednesday, December 6, because they have yet to receive either the governor’s reported line vetoes or his approval on the budget.
De Asis, however, said this was for necessity and urgency, adding that this would be for “the general welfare of the people.”
He said his suggestion was “moot and academic” because they could now take up other matters since the court mandamus has been effectively lifted.
“Therefore, there is no legal impediment that we can take up the supplemental budget by referring it to the committee on finance and appropriations considering the time concerns,” De Asis said.
The former Solana town mayor later retracted his motion to approve the said budget, instead asking for deliberation on the supplemental budget.
Board Member Rosauro Resuello supported De Asis’ motion, saying, “It is but proper to tackle this because we have already approved on our part the annual budget,” he said.
Majority of the board members, however, said they can only deliberate or take action on the supplemental budget once Mamba has submitted his decision on the P2 billion mother budget.
“I believe we cannot yet tackle this item yet pending the approval of the governor to the annual appropriations ordinance,” Board Member Vilmer Viloria said.
Viloria explained that it is “not legally binding” to approve the supplemental budget without Mamba’s official approval of the mother budget.
“Baka kakasuhan na naman tayo diyan eh sa ombudsman… Kung makapagbibigay sila ng certification now, that the honorable governor has already signed the budget, then we could tackle the supplemental budget as requested,” he said.
Viloria said, “Walang kinalaman ang mandamus dito. Ang sinasabi natin dito, hindi pa pinipirmahan ng ating kagalang galang ng gobernador, hindi pa trinatransmit kung approved na nga o may vineto nga siyang linya doon sa mother budget.”
The floor leader added that the board, as of now, “has no right” to tackle the supplemental budget because the final approval is “in the hands” of the governor.
Board members Jean Alphonse Ponce and Arnold Layus, Jr backed up Viloria, saying that without the governor’s approval, the budget is still “inoperative” and it is “useless” to tackle the supplemental budget.
Meanwhile, Cagayan Vice-Governor and SP Presiding Officer Melvin Vargas, Jr said the board can hold a special session, even in a weekend, once Governor Mamba has signed the appropriation ordinance.
The 2017 executive budget was approved in a special session on Friday, December 1. Northernforum.net