Bigtime LP scam

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Another sinister creation of the Liberal Party (LP) that had slipped detection thus far, similar to the recent tons of meth or shabu that got through the Bureau of Customs, was the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) of former President Noynoy Aquino where billions of pesos of public funds were spent.

“Had President Rody Duterte failed to stop the yellow rampage, Abad would have institutionalized the BuB down to the barangay level.

The scheme was a creation of Noynoy’s budget secretary and chief LP strategist Butch Abad supposedly as a reform measure “to empower communities” but were actually used to line the pockets of local officials supporting the yellow administration.

Abad’s Department of Budget and Management released some P1.278 billion to fund projects under the BuB program to 133 local government units (LGU) in 2015 that did not pass the requirements under the budget law, according to the Commission on Audit.

Of the 14,300 projects with funding allocation amounting to P20.9 billion, 800 projects with funding allocation of P1.278 billion were implemented by 133 LGU that are not part of the 2014 Good Financial Housekeeping Passers and Passers of After Assessment Compliance (as of 29 February 2016), according to a CoA report.

Had President Rody Duterte failed to stop the yellow rampage, Abad would have institutionalized the BuB down to the barangay level.

Abad, in the last year of Noynoy, conceptualized a P42-billion Barangay BuB in which each of the 42,036 barangays of the country were entitled to P1 million each had the LP succeeded in ramming its bet Mar Roxas to the presidency.

Under Abad’s proposed expanded BuB, the first 12,000 barangays will receive funding from the national government in 2017 and would be released through the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the agency which Roxas used to head.

In one of his campaign speeches, Roxas promised to allot an additional P100 billion, or the equivalent of P1,000 for each of the 100 million residents in LGU, including barangays, or in layman’s term all Filipinos, under the expanded BuB program which he called “BuB Pa More” if he is elected president.

“Flexibility in bureaucratic jargon means too much discretion that leads to corruption.

“If the question is, do we have the money or is this just an empty promise? The answer is no, because we have P800 billion (from capital outlay in 2016) and if we will continue the Daang Matuwid, we will get the P100 billion out of the P800 billion and directly download it to our communities and our barangays,” Roxas said.

Roxas said under his proposed “BuB Pa More” program, each of the country’s 1,490 towns and 144 cities will receive a project allocation equivalent to P1,000 for every resident.

Under the BuB, local government heads were asked to come up with a menu or “wish list” of projects worth P15 million each.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has once classified the BuB as a political tool.

Diokno said while the Internal Revenue Allotment, which is provided and required under the law, is formula-based, is mandatory and is automatically released, local officials have to make a request or lobby with Noynoy or Abad to get a BuB allocation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also noted the complexity and flexibility built into the Abad scheme that affected the transparency of the budgeting system.

The IMF, in apparently questioning the BuB in its report “Philippines: Fiscal Transparency Evaluation,” indicated “budget credibility is undermined by the complexity and large flexibility of the annual budget framework” under the system Abad employed.

Flexibility in bureaucratic jargon means too much discretion that leads to corruption.

There should be a CoA probe on the BuB similar to the special audit it made on the Priority Development Assistance Fund during Noynoy’s term that found gross misuse of public funds.

All the top yellows, including non-government organizations, would have an imprint on this highly anomalous scheme.

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