Duterte will veto any unconstitutional provisions in 2020 budget – Palace

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would veto any unconstitutional insertions in the 2020 national budget, Malacañang assured the public on Wednesday.

“Provisions in the budget that run counter to the Constitution will be vetoed by the President. There is no change in that policy,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a brief statement.

Panelo’s comment came after Sen. Panfilo Lacson, said Duterte’s veto power is the “only hope” to remove the alleged last-minute insertions in the budget.

In a text message to reporters Tuesday, Lacson revealed there were last-minute insertions in next year’s national budget.

READ: Lacson bares last minute insertions in 2020 budget

He said House insertions could reach P83-billion worth of projects, or even more.

The senator said his office received a USB containing two files— the “Source”  file and the “List” file—from the House Tuesday night.

“Our preliminary scrutiny of the last-minute insertions made by the House would indicate that the Source File is the list of 1,253 budget items worth P83.219B that was apparently used as the congressmen’s ‘source’ of their ‘list’ of 742 projects worth P16.345B that were inserted in the bicam report that was signed by both panels this morning,” he said.

“Since there is no preliminary explanation from the House regarding the 2 Files, we cannot ascertain if indeed only P16.345B or the bigger amount of P83.219B was inserted at the last minute prior to the bicam signing… What is clear though is that there are still lump sums and vaguely described projects that are now part of the bicam report,” he added.

The passager of the 2019 budget was delayed due to alleged insertions and questionable allocations by lawmakers.

Duterte only signed the budget in April 2019 or almost four months after the start of the fiscal year.

Edited by MUF