Vice President Leni Robredo was curiously in the House of Representatives gallery when the yellow minions in the chamber launched an attempt to raise a P1 billion election budget for the likely civil society bet.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which goes by the principle of “spend it or lose it” in the appropriation of the budget, allotted a smaller amount to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for next year.
Her allies are now desperately working to give Robredo’s office a budget of “at least” P1 billion against the P713.41 million in the National Expenditure Program for 2022 that is under deliberation.
Robredo, through her henchmen, complained the DBM appropriation was 21 percent less than the P900 million her office got in 2021.
DBM, however, is guided by a rule that a budget of an agency depends on its absorptive capacity or its ability to fully spend its allotted funds.
Thus, the OVP getting a smaller amount for 2022 was an indication the Vice President failed to meet 21 percent of her project commitments this year.
The OVP under Robredo only has one discernible program that is the Angat Buhay, which doubles as her campaign vehicle, since it allows her to go to densely populated poor communities and make her presence felt.
Under the OVP’s proposed budget, P357.602 million will be infused for financial assistance and subsidies under the Angat Buhay program.
Her House allies, which count the left-wing Makabayan bloc, insisted the OVP deserves a bigger budget, since her “relief drives during the pandemic were highly praised despite a meager budget.”
They also equated the efficient spending of the office’s budget to “the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit for three consecutive years.”
Thus far, Robredo’s stint in government is as dismal as the DBM assessment of her inability to meet spending targets.
She should have had a solid role in the Duterte Cabinet had she not bungled the task given her as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs.
Just 19 days after her appointment, she was dismissed by President Duterte after she consulted with foreign governments and institutions that were critical of the government and its war on drugs.
Officials of the anti-narcotics campaign worried Robredo would leak vital information to foreign institutions that may put at risk lives of operatives and the success of the program to rid the country of the drugs menace.
According to a document released by the OVP, a total of P505.3 million in assistance was provided for Covid-19 response and another P35.06 million for disaster relief operations, including those for the eruption of Taal Volcano in January 2000 and during last year’s severe typhoons.
Filipinos associate the whole five years of Robredo in government with porridge or lugaw, which is the main course during her tour throughout the country.
Lugaw in Filipino street language means being dense.