Gov’t to negotiate solution on Comelec budget
The poll body had complained that their proposed 2013 budget was slashed to P8 million

MANILA, Philippines – The Malacanang is confident that the government can reconcile a solution on the complaint of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regarding their lower budget for the 2013 elections.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Sunday, July 29, that the executive branch has been willing to negotiate in terms of budgetary needs of the Comelec, which currently face a 2013 budget that was about third of its previous year’s.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier complained about the reduction of their proposed 2013 budget to P8 billion from P24 billion. He warned that the poll body might revert to manual elections next year given the drastic cut in the budget, and threatened that he would resign if this pushes through.

“We’ve already shown in the past that the executive has always been willing to work with agencies, its own agencies, as well as independent commissions when it comes to their budgetary needs,” Valte said.

She cited the case when the Supreme Court had an an issue regarding the salary and allowances of judges and justices. “We’ve come up with a memorandum of agreement between the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and the Supreme Court that settled the issue,” she added.

Budget secretary Florencio Abad stood firm with their decision, saying that the budget cut was justified by their assessment.

So what if DBM and Comelec does not come to an agreement? “Then Comelec can always go to Congress and ask for additional budget during the budget hearing,” Valte said.

President Benigno Aquino III has earlier expressed willingness to reconsider restoring the original proposed budget of the poll body. –

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