Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From "anomalous" spending to "imbalanced" spending: P-Noy eats his words yet again

From what was hyped up to be a "shocking" "exposé" of "awe"-some proportions, Malacanang has now toned down its position on the fiscal position of the government and, backpedals yet again to using more benign words since promising in a 25th July Inquirer.net report "revelations of 'shocking' anomalies" in the previous administration's handling of government finances leading to "the depletion of the P1.54-trillion national budget and calamity fund".

President Benigno "P.Noy" Aquino III described the situation using strong words in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA):
“This report is merely a glimpse of our situation,” the President said. “It is not the entire picture of the crises we are facing. The reality was hidden from our people, who seem to have been deliberately obfuscated on the real state of our nation.”

He described as “revolting” the manner the Arroyo administration did business.

“Money was there only to be wasted. You have heard how the public coffers were squandered,” he said in his speech in Filipino to a packed Batasang Pambansa and a nationwide radio and television audience.

Now Budget Undersecratary Mario Relampagos clarifies that there is "nothing illegal" in past government spending under former President Gloria Arroyo. There was, instead, an "imbalance of the pattern of spending of the government".
Relampagos pointed out that from January to June this year, the government exceeded the budget deficit ceiling by P51 billion because one, there was revenue shortfall of P23 billion, and two, the government overspent by P27 billion.

With P23 billion revenue shortfall, then prudence dictates that the government should have calibrated its spending, he said.

"The more important thing there is whether it was justified given the fiscal situation at that time you have to calibrate your releases against the fiscal situation," he said.

So much for "shock" and "awe".

It also does not take an expert to see some of the motives for this latest of Aquino Administration backpedaling. As Winnie Monsod points out, Messrs Cesar Purisima and Mar Roxas who are now key figures in the Yellow Army themselves had a hand in fiscal management at one time or another during Arroyo's rule.

Like in most of his previous gaffes, we again are in the midst of the pathetic sight of a President eating his words. There is no apology in Relampagos's words. Only "clarification".

3 comments:

  1. Got here via AP.

    That's really sad. Modifying for clarification again and again. The "anomalous spending" is now stuck in peoples' minds. Hindi naman lahat ng nakinig ng SONA magbabasa ng clarification na yan.

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  2. The Manila Bulletin made use of stronger wording on its headline on the same subject:

    Budget exec clears Arroyo...

    "He was supposed to defend President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III’s claims that the government is almost bankrupt but a senior budget official ended up clearing the Arroyo government of any alleged irregular spending of the 2010 national budget.

    Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos said there was nothing anomalous with the use of the bulk of the P1.54 trillion national budget of the year by the past government.
    "

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  3. i read in the Philippine Star about Noynoy's statements before the SONA. I was laughing because all I could read were pahapyaw and snippets. It was like watching a showbiz intriga pre-show ad or reading a tabloid chismis column. remember, Noynoy said in a speech in January this year that he will never impose new taxes. After doing rounds of the provinces during his campaign by summer time, he retracted by saying that he would if it was necessary. He did the same retraction with not traveling abroad if he became president. when he became one, he interestingly said he will only if it's needed. mind-boggling.

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