Drilon: Duterte’s veto on budget based on legal, constitutional grounds
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s line item veto in the 2019 national budget was based on legal and constitutional grounds and not because he “sided” with the Senate.
Senate Minority Franklin Drilon said this, after the President signed on Monday the national budget, which had been delayed in Congress due to alleged ‘pork’ realignments.
“The President’s action finds legal basis in the case of Joker Arroyo vs De Venecia (GR No. 127255, 14 August 1997), where the Supreme Court ruled that “the attestations by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President serve as a solemn assurance that the measure was indeed passed by Congress,’” Drilon said in a statement Monday night.
“The assurance given by Senate President Sotto, in this case, was qualified. The Senate President only attested to the approval of that portion of the bill not affected by the realignments.”
“Thus, the President’s line item veto is based on legal and constitutional grounds, and not because the President sided with the Senate,” he further said.
Drilon noted that Sotto’s “qualified attestation of the Senate’s passage of the budget was the formula I suggested that enabled the President to sign the budget.”
Sotto expressed his strong reservations when he signed the enrolled copy of the budget bill last March 26.
In signing the measure, the Senate leader asked the President to consider disapproving the P75 billion worth of programs or projects which were funded through unconstitutional realignments.
“The President may wish to consider disapproving these unconstitutional realignments, pursuant to his constitutional power to veto particular items in the General Appropriations Bill,” he said after signing the budget bill.
Sotto believes that the P75 billion was part of the P95.3 billion worth of items vetoed by the President. /muf
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