Up to President to veto ‘insertions’ in 2019 budget, says Andaya
MANILA, Philippines — Ultimately it’s President Rodrigo Duterte’s call whether to veto any portion of the 2019 budget that the Senate leadership approved on Tuesday after one and a half months of stalemate with the House of Representatives over pork allegations, said Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chair of the House appropriations panel.
In an interview on dzMM radio on Wednesday, Andaya said it was up to the President to heed Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s advice to veto portions of the budget containing House realignments.
“Even if we were to give our opinion on that, we would have no control over it,” Andaya said.
Sotto said he signed the enrolled copy of the budget measure with “strong reservations” because of “unconstitutional” changes on the bill that the House had inserted after its ratification, including some P75 billion worth of programs and projects under the local infrastructure program of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
But the House leadership maintained that the P3.8-trillion budget bill for 2019 would pass any test of constitutionality.
“Once enacted into law, I assure the taxpaying public that the national budget for 2019 will pass not only the test of constitutionality and legality but also of transparency and accountability,” Andaya said in a statement.
He also brushed off the disagreement between the Senate and the House as a sign of “democracy at work.”
“That is democracy at work. We are confident that the product of this democratic process will help improve our economic situation and uplift the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” Andaya said.
Though House leaders had insisted that they only itemized lump-sum appropriations in the spending bill, Sotto said the lower chamber had realigned cuts from the Asset Preservation Program, Network Development Program, Bridge Program, Flood Management Program, and Convergence and Support Program.
With the Senate signing the bill and sending it to President Duterte for his signature, the government was closer to getting fresh funds after running on a reenacted 2018 budget since January.
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