Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee deliberating on the proposed P3.7-trillion national budget for 2018, said on top of the P2.588 billion approved by the House of Representatives for the ombudsman last August, the panel added funds for the anti-graft agency’s capital outlay. File

Senate assures ombudsman of 2018 budget approval
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite attacks against its officials coming from Malacañang, the Office of the Ombudsman is assured of its funding next year aimed at strengthening the agency, Sen. Loren Legarda said yesterday.

Legarda, chair of the Senate finance committee deliberating on the proposed P3.7-trillion national budget for 2018, said on top of the P2.588 billion approved by the House of Representatives for the ombudsman last August, the panel added funds for the anti-graft agency’s capital outlay.

In particular, Legarda said P127 million was allocated for the construction of a building and P16.653 million for the ombudsman’s e-SALN project or the web-based system
that would allow government officials and employees to file their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth online.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales described this project as a “key institutional mechanism to combat corruption and promote accountability and ethical standards in public service.”

Morales has been at loggerheads with President Duterte over the ombudsman’s investigation into the Chief Executive’s alleged ill-gotten wealth based on the complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes called on Filipinos and cause-oriented groups to express their support for Morales and Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang as Duterte continued his attacks on them.

Duterte has threatened to conduct his own investigation on Morales and the agency through a special commission.

“For President Duterte, stop your intimidation of people who are standing up for what is right and the truth. Stop hiding behind the powers of the presidency,” Trillanes said in a statement.

“Be a man and face the allegations against you. Sign the waivers,” he said.

Trillanes has been challenging Duterte to sign a waiver to open his bank accounts and disprove allegations that he has amassed ill-gotten wealth when he served as mayor, vice mayor and congressman of Davao City at different times.

Duterte also accused Trillanes of keeping secret bank accounts that would show ill-gotten wealth on the part of the senator as well.

But Trillanes said Duterte’s allegations were fabricated as he issued waivers to allow anyone to scrtunize his bank accounts.

Trillanes also went to Singapore to belie the existence of his supposed accounts bared by Duterte, who then admitted he merely invented them and that the senator fell into his trap.

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