Withheld realigned budget may still be released, if needed — Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday confirmed that the government withheld at least P80-billion in congressional realignments, but said that it may still be released “depending on the need.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier revealed that some lawmakers tried to realign at least P80 billion from the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the 2020 national budget.
Instead of exercising his veto power, Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte decided to just withhold the release of the realigned budget which he said has the same effect as a veto.
The president’s spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed this, saying the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) may still release the withheld budget, subject to certain budgetary processes.
“He (Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado) told me about it, (and said) that the P84 billion will not be released immediately but depending on the need for the release thereof. In other words, there will be a process,” Panelo said at a Palace briefing.
“If there’s a need for that, then we have to include that in the budget but they have to pass a certain process,” he added.
Lacson previously bared that last-minute insertions were allegedly made by the House of Representatives (HOR) before the congressional bicameral conference committee signed the 2020 budget in December last year.
He said then that the alleged House insertions could reach at least P83-billion worth of projects.
Edited by EDV
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