Duterte to look into claims versus pro­posed 2019 bud­get

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte is now do­ing his home­work to en­sure that the pro­posed P3.757tril­lion na­tional bud­get for 2019 would be com­pli­ant with the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion, Mala­cañang said on Mon­day, April 1.

Speak­ing to Palace re­porters, Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said the Pres­i­dent would also take a look at the claims by both the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that there were in­ser­tions and bud­get re­align­ments in the 2019 gen­eral ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill.

"They (the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives) are accusing each other with cer­tain ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties or acts in con­flict with the Con­sti­tu­tion. They should re­solve it," Panelo said.

"Mean­while, the Pres­i­dent, I'm sure will be fac­tor­ing in all the state­ments made by both houses in go­ing over the bud­get, and then de­cide for him­self," he added.

This came af­ter House ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee chair­per­son Rolando An­daya Jr. said that the Sen­ate "sab­o­taged" the pri­or­ity pro­grams of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion by al­legedly cut­ting down the al­lo­ca­tion for in­fra­struc­ture and other pri­or­ity projects of the gov­ern­ment.

An­daya made the state­ment on Mon­day, April 1, as the Sen­ate has ac­cused the House law­mak­ers of mak­ing some in­ser­tions and re­align­ments in the pro­posed 2019 bud­get.

While the pro­posed 2019 bud­get spend­ing was al­ready trans­mit­ted to Duterte's of­fice for his sig­na­ture, Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Sotto III ear­lier urged the Pres­i­dent to veto "un­con­sti­tu­tional" pro­vi­sions like the re­align­ment of a P75-bil­lion worth of pro­grams un­der the Lo­cal In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram of the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways (DPWH).

An­daya, mean­time, al­leged that the Sen­ate took out some items in the 2019 bud­get bill, in­clud­ing the P5 bil­lion for Trans­porta­tion de­part­ment's right-of-way projects, P11.033 bil­lion for the DPWH's right-of-way projects, and the P2.5 bil­lion for the DPWH's for­eign-as­sisted projects.

An­daya also ac­cused the Sen­ate of slash­ing al­lo­ca­tion for the pri­or­ity pro­grams of the Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (P3 bil­lion), De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (P2.254 bil­lion), De­part­ment of For­eign Afairs (7.5 bil­lion), Mis­cel­la­neous Per­son­nel Ben­e­fit Fund (P13.4 bil­lion), and Pen­sion and Gra­tu­ity Fund (P39 bil­lion).

The House law­maker's lat­est re­marks prompted Panelo to once again urge the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to re­solve the is­sues they throw against each other.

"Well, again, that is an internal prob­lem. With re­spect to the two houses, they should re­solve that," Panelo said.

"They're rais­ing con­sti­tu­tional is­sues among them­selves, and that will be fac­tored in the con­sid­er­a­tion of the Pres­i­dent sign­ing or ve­to­ing the cer­tain pro­vi­sions of the bud­get," he added.

Panelo, nev­er­the­less, guar­an­teed that the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive would sign a "le­gal" 2019 bud­get.

He also ex­pressed hope that the pro­posed 2019 bud­get would be signed into law any­time this week.

"Well, the Pres­i­dent wants to have a new bud­get so I'm sure he is al­ready do­ing his home­work on that," he said.

"He is go­ing to eval­u­ate and scru­ti­nize the na­tional bud­get... He's a lawyer. He will know whether a doc­u­ment or a cer­tain pro­vi­sions in doc­u­ment is il­le­gal or not," he added. (Ruth Abbey Gita/ SunS­tar Philip­pines)

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