Duterte to ‘review’ 2019 budget once transmitted to Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will review the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 and sign it if it’s “consistent with the Constitution” otherwise he would use his power to veto, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he already signed the budget with “strong reservations.”
“He will review the enrolled bill and if it’s consistent with the Constitution, he will sign it,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
Panelo echoed Duterte’s earlier statement, saying the President would not sign anything unconstitutional.
“The President says he will not sign anything that is unconstitutional as far as he is concerned,” he said.
The Senate has maintained that the post-realignment of the House of Representatives was unconstitutional.
“He will have to evaluate whether or not the opinion of the Senate is indeed correct. It depends, the President is a lawyer,” Panelo said.
The Palace official said Duterte would review the budget as “soon” as he receives the enrolled copy of the bill.
“Knowing the President he will act on it immediately because we need a new budget,” he said.
He said the it would be the “President’s call” to veto provisions he deemed unconstitutional.
“If he feels that it is not in violation of the Constitution, he will sign it immediately,” he said.
The passage of the 2019 budget has been delayed after the Senate and House could not agree over alleged insertions and questionable allocations.
“Whatever the opinion of the house will not matter with respect to the President deciding whether or not it is unconstitutional or not. He is a lawyer,” Panelo said.
He said Malacañang was happy about the development in the budget impasse.
“We are commending the members of the congress for submitting the enrolled bill,” he said.
“Well, they performed their respective jobs and they have finally settled their differences so that’s why we are happy to note that they have finally submitted or will submit the enrolled bill,” he added. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.