Andaya questions basis of Duterte’s move to veto P95.3B of nat’l budget
MANILA, Philippines — The P95.3 billion in public works projects were deleted from the 2019 national budget because those were not among President Rodrigo Duterte’s priorities is not a “legal reason” for a direct veto, Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said Tuesday.
Duterte signed the long-delayed General Appropriations Act of 2019 on Monday. The approved national budget totaled P3.757-trillion, but the President vetoed certain provisions of it worth P95.3 billion supposedly because those were not among his priority projects.
“‘Yung ganun pong klaseng rason is equal to a conditional veto,” said Andaya, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, in an interview over Radyo Inquirer. “Kasi kung direktang veto dapat sinabi na nila na unconstitutional o illegal ‘yung pondo na ‘yun.”
“Wala naman pong ibang rason para i-direct veto eh. Pero kung sasabihin na hindi prayoridad kaya kailangang i-veto, that is not a legal reason for a direct veto,” he added.
Malacañang has yet to release Duterte’s veto message but in a Palace briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the vetoed provisions were “unconstitutional.”
“As I have said in my statement, those vetoed provisions are in violation of the Constitution or it is against certain statutes. That was also the statement made by the President,” Panelo said.
According to Andaya, it was unclear whether the President “directly” vetoed the P95.3 billion in public works projects from the 2019 national budget.
The lawmaker said a direct veto will totally remove the vetoed provisions from the national budget within the year.
“Hindi po klaro kung anong klaseng veto ‘yung sinasabi. Ito ba ‘yung direktang veto na tinatapyas ‘yung kabuuan at hindi na puwedeng magamit sa kabuuan ng tao o ‘yung tinatawag naman pong conditional veto na hindi naman nangagahulugang hindi na pwedeng magamit?” Andaya said.
“Pwede pa ‘tong ma-realease sa kabuuan ng taon,” he added, noting that release of funds on “conditional veto” would depend on the executive department.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III signed the 2019 spending bill but with “strong reservations” and urged the President to veto its “unconstitutional” provisions.
Senator Panfilo Lacson previously said some lawmakers in the lower chamber made changes to the 2019 national budget even after it had been ratified.
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.