Duterte to be made aware of ‘last-minute’ insertions in 2020 budget – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will be made aware of the alleged last-minute insertions in the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
In a phone patch interview with reporters, Lacson said that there is still hope that the questionable insertions will be vetoed by the President even as the committee report on next year’s spending bill was already signed by the bicameral conference committee.
“So far ‘yung mga (those that are) questionable, ‘yun ‘yung (that’s the) P16.345 billion… pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung pag-scrutinize kasi hangga’t hindi pa nae-enrol ‘yung bill, hangga’t hindi pa napipirmahan ng Pangulo, may pag-asa pa na ma-veto yun, na hindi matuloy,” he said.
(But we will continue to scrutinize because as long as the bill has not been enrolled yet or has not been signed by the President yet, there’s still hope that it will be vetoed, that it will not push through).
Lacson, who skipped the signing of the bicam report on the proposed national budget, earlier revealed that the House of Representatives allegedly made last-minute insertions of at least P16.345-billion worth of projects.
He had pointed out that eight projects were “uniformly budgeted at P60 million each”
“Alam natin ‘pag flood control napaka-prone sa corruption… Ang striking, eight projects, ang amount nila uniform in budget, tig-P60 million,” the senator said.
(We know that flood control projects are prone to corruption… What’s striking is that eight projects were uniformly budgeted at P60 million each).
“Ang question, pareho ba ang configuration sa mga ilog? Pareho ba dapat ayusin sa mga ilog, o ano man ang creek o ilog o ano man ang ifa-flood control. So malinaw na talagang may abuse of discretion dito,” he added.
(The question is, are the configurations the same in all rivers? Do these rivers or creeks have to go through the same flood control method? So it’s clear that there is an abuse of discretion here).
He said the Senate will most likely express reservations before it submits the 2020 national budget to the President for signature.
“Nag-usap na kami ni Senate President (Vicente Sotto III) at saka ni Senator (Sonny) Angara, ililista namin lahat ‘yon at ipagbibigay alam namin sa President through the DBM (Department of Budget Management) at bahala na yung pangulo na mag-discern o mag-analayze pa kung tama yung aming sinasabi o hindi,” Lacson went on.
(Senate President, Senator Angara and I already talked, we will list the questionable insertions and we will inform the President, through the DBM, and he can discern and analyze himself if what we’re saying is right).
“Kung sa tingin ng Pangulo okay naman na palusutin, call niya ‘yon kasi siya naman yung may veto power. Kaya mabuti na lamang at sa Constitution natin may naka-provide doon na pwedeng mag-exercise ng line item veto,” he added.
(If the President thinks that it’s okay to let it slide, it’s his call because he’s the one with the veto power. That’s why it’s good that the Constitution provides for the exercise of the line-item veto).