Rationalization of Senate oversight committees sought-A A +A
Monday, February 4, 2013
MANILA -- The Senate would save millions of taxpayer's money if it would incorporate oversight functions into the regular committees, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Monday.
If not, even a modest increase in the standard budget of a regular committee to accommodate the additional oversight function will still save money, he said in filing Senate Resolution 930.
So far, the Senate has 37 oversight committees, which were given annual budgets ranging from P5 million to P38 million in 2012.
These committees look into the implementation of certain laws, such as, disaster risk reduction and management, overseas workers affairs, government procurement, and agrarian reform, among others.
Pimentel said that his proposal would be fairer in the sense that all oversight functions would be funded equally and equitably while minimizing internal squabbling over Senate resources.
Recently, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano accused Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of being unfair in the distribution of committees and their corresponding budgets.
However, Enrile explained that the unequal distribution of these committees and their budgets among the senators is largely due to their chairmanship of the permanent committees.
"This has been a festering issue especially for me as Senate President because to equalize everyone is close to impossible under these circumstances," he said.
Only Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senator Joker Arroyo, and Enrile are the only senators who do not chair any oversight committee.
Enrile said Congress should seriously consider a review of the budgetary allocations provided for oversight committees under the laws that created them, and if necessary, amend these laws either to provide a "sunset provision."
Congress can also reduce their budgets if found excessive, or even to abolish those that are no longer relevant or needed, he added.
He said that a moratorium on the creation of more oversight committees in the future may be appropriate while the review is being undertaken.
"After all, the matter of the proper implementation of the laws we pass rests on the Executive branch" Enrile said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)