Diokno: Andaya claim on restoring P75B ‘pork’ ‘irresponsible’
MANILA, Philippines – Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno slammed as “baseless, premature and irresponsible” the latest accusation of Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. that he and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles were set to restore the P75 billion “pork” in the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
“Baseless, premature, irresponsible,” Diokno told INQUIRER.net in a text message on Monday, adding that the executive had yet to receive the enrolled copy of the 2019 budget bill.
In a statement, Andaya said, “Now that Congress has fulfilled its job in correcting the P75-billion gaffe, Secretaries Diokno and Nograles are back [on] the drawing board to restore it in the 2019 GAA via a veto message.”
“Our job is to provide the President the facts and options so he can exercise his Constitutional duty to act on the budget bill once it arrives on his desk, including the option to exercise his line item veto power,” Diokno said.
“As in the past,” Diokno said, “DBM will prepare a Statement of Difference, where we compare the President’s Budget and what came out of Congress, line by line.”
“We do not claim monopoly of fiscal wisdom. Hence, we will provide the President the option to veto or to let go,” he said.
“If the congressional amendment is an improvement over the President’s proposal, we will propose adoption; otherwise, we propose line-item veto,” he added.
He said “Congress has done its constitutional duty to review, amend and finally authorize the budget.”
“Now, it’s the duty of the President to approve, approve with line item veto, or veto altogether the whole budget,” he said.
Congress, he said, “has the authority to override the President’s veto with two thirds vote, with the House and the Senate voting separately.”
“That’s the essence of checks and balances in a constitutional democracy. It is improper for a legislator to threaten the President with a suit in the exercise of his power,” he said.
INQUIRER.net has tried to get the comment of Nograles but has not responded as of posting. /cbb
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