Boncodin explained that
the Department of Budget and Management
(DBM) cannot just release
funds to any government agency without any particular
purpose and that the law should authorize this.
In the said issue,
Boncodin said the government agency is the DA, the
particular purpose is procurement of agricultural
inputs, and the law is the Agriculture and Fisheries
Modernization Act (AFMA).
Three militant groups,
the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya
(Pamalakaya), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),
and Amihan are the latest to file the plunder case
before the Office of the Ombudsman.
senatorial candidate Francisco Chavez filed plunder
charges against the President for supposedly using
P728 million in agricultural funds during the last
Also named respondents in
the case were Boncodin, Agriculture Secretary Luis
Lorenzo Jr., Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn
Bolante, Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and
one Nora Oliveros.
The militants, like
Chavez before them, accused the officials of diverting
the money for campaign funds.
Boncodin also has said
the DBM is part of the Regional Project Monitoring and
Evaluation System that does financial monitoring by
undertaking sampling on certain government projects.
She said it is possible
that the funds may reach some congressmen or other
local government officials through the DA but these
have to be spent for the said purpose and not for
On allegations that the
funds were allocated on areas where there are no
agricultural lands, Boncodin said this was possible
since, she cited Navotas and Quezon City as having no
such lands but they have fishery projects.
Meanwhile, Bunye belied
the observations of former Budget Secretary Benjamin
Diokno that the Philippine economy is in the brink of
"He is entitled to his
opinion. We're on the right track containing one of
the problems inherited from the past administration of
which Diokno was part of," Bunye said.
"We have somehow trimmed
the budget deficit down to a manageable level," Bunye
Boncodin earlier reported
that the government's budget deficit ceiling of P197.8
billion for 2004 would stay despite the possibility of
higher-than- programmed spending amid rising prices.
The government has set
the budget deficit ceiling at P197.8 billion as it
aims for a balanced budget in 2009 or 2010.