By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
MALACAÑANG on Thursday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will take up at a Cabinet meeting scheduled Aug. 6 the recent Supreme Court ruling increasing the local government units’ (LGUs) share of national government revenues.
As for for the government’s option to file a motion for reconsideration on the high court’s decision, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said: “Well, I confirm as I said earlier, in the last Cabinet meeting, it was agreed upon that there will be a motion for reconsideration filed. But there has been a supervening event since the President, during the League of Mayors meeting in Davao, talked to the mayors about the ruling, and the President also had the occasion to talk to the party litigant in that case, [former Batangas governor] Hermilando I. Mandanas, who explained that this will not result in a budgetary deficit because it will not entail additional budget amounts.”
Mr. Roque added: “So, it is only transferring money from one pocket to another. I think the matter will be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting.”
“Ang sabi naman ni [Mr.] Mandanas (said), malinaw na ho na sabi ng Korte Suprema, walang (it is clear that the Supreme Court said it has no) retroactive effect. So, it’s only a prospective effect,” Mr. Roque said.
Mr. Roque cited Mr. Mandanas, a former investment banker, as saying there is no need to increase the budget to comply with the ruling. “Meron po kasing tatlong areas sa Local Government Code na binigay na sa LGU,” he said. (There are three areas in the Local Government Code for the LGUs.)
“Yung (The) DOH (Department of Health), yung agriculture, agrarian reform and social services, so bakit hindi na lang yung pondo (so why not use these funds) for these three, na nasa (which are already included in the) budget na ilipat na (that was transferred) from the national government dun sa (to the) IRA (internal revenue allotments) ng (of) local governments?” Mr. Roque said.
“So, it’s moving money from one pocket to the other. But I also understand that Mr. Mandanas has talked to, individually, to members of the economic team, but this will have to be discussed again in the next Cabinet meeting, and I guess the President would want to approve the Cabinet on any modification that may be required in the proposed 2019 budget,” he added.