Why Senate should not allow the redefinition of savings and change the meaning of ‘errata’

By Leonor Magtolis Briones 

Last Monday, November 17, 2014 a number of interesting events happened in the Senate. In the morning, a necrological service was held for the much-loved Senator Juan Flavier. Two other related events took place: the referral to the Committee on Finance of the General Appropriations Bill (House Bill 4968) and a briefing by Social Watch Philippines on why the Senate should not allow the redefinition of savings and change the meaning of the word “errata.”

Read on…


  1. manuel buencamino

    erratum |ɛˈrɑːtəm|
    noun (pl.errata |-tə| )
    an error in printing or writing.
    • (errata) a list of corrected errors appended to a book or published in a subsequent issue of a journal.

    “An erratum or corrigendum (plurals: errata, corrigenda) (comes from Latin: errata corrige) is a correction of a published text. An erratum is most commonly issued shortly after its original text is published. Patches to security issues in a computer program are also sometimes called errata.”

    “The Chicago Manual of Style describes an errata sheet as follows: “Errata, lists of errors and their corrections, may take the form of loose, inserted sheets or bound-in pages. An errata sheet is definitely not a usual part of a book. It should never be supplied to correct simple typographical errors (which may be rectified in a later printing) or to insert additions to, or revisions of, the printed text (which should wait for the next edition of the book). It is a device to be used only in extreme cases where errors severe enough to cause misunderstanding are detected too late to correct in the normal way but before the finished book is distributed. Then the errors may be listed with their locations and their corrections on a sheet that is tipped in, either before or after the book is bound, or laid in loose, usually inside the front cover of the book. (Tipping and inserting must be done by hand, thus adding considerably to the cost of the book.)”[1]

    What is Briones’ definition of errata?

  2. manuel buencamino

    Briones’ objection to the “redefinition” of savings is “The above phrase is tantamount to delivery of Congress’s (both Houses) power of the purse to the Executive.”

    The power of the purse exercised by Congress, under the 1987 Constitution, is very limited to begin with.

    Art VI

    “Section 25. (1) The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget.”

    This means that Congress can only reduce the budget submitted by the President. Congress has no power over the purse to appropriate what it deems fit.

    “(7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.”

    Our Congress unlike the USC has no power to shut down the government by closing the purse. Re-enacted budgets have taken away the power of Congress to open or close the purse. A president who wants to turn the budget into his own private pork barrel can get his allies to block passage of the GAA. This has been the practice of previous presidents during election years.

    “(2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object.”

    Line-item veto also takes away the power of Congress over the purse.

    Adding “at any time” to the definition of “savings” in this year’s GAA is simply to accomodate the ruling of the SC on DAP. The SC did not condemn DAP, it even recognized that allowing discretion in the allocation of unspent funds is a sound management practice.

    Briones is against allowing any discretion. She equates discretion with political patronage which she believes is wrong in and of itself. But politics simply put is “the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level.”

    One governs with carrots and sticks. Knowing when to use what and when marks the effectivity of a governor. If we deprive governors of carrots then they will be left with nothing other than sticks.

    What I would like to hear from Briones and other like-minded people is there idea for an alternative form of governance, one that does not use carrots and sticks, to influence other people on a global, civic or individual level. Cumbaya kaya?

  3. @mb, i subscribe to your suggestion that the gridlock between the executive and the legislative on budget balancing should be eased by redefining the use of “savings” to stimulate the economy and fight “deflation and inflation” market condition..a kind of management tool for efficient and prudent governance. IMHO.