Motive, opportunity for thievery

The motive and the opportunity are there. The thieves will not pass up the chance.”

The Senate and the House were set to ratify last night the P1.4 trillion budget for 2009 and, as in the past, nobody save the members of the bicameral committee knew what “insertions” and “realignments” had to be accommodated to harmonize the two chambers’ conflicting versions.

It can be safely assumed, however, that items had been sufficiently shuffled to satisfy the need of legislators for funding of their pet “mejoras.” There are enough items there to grease the budget’s passage.

For starters, there is the P100 billion appropriation for infrastructure projects. At least P60 billion of the amount is to be frontloaded into the government’s spending program, with releases scheduled for the first semester. If we go by past practices, these projects will be implemented by legislative districts, with we-know-who acting as overseers.

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