Con­tin­gency plans'ready' if Duterteve­toes2019 bud­get

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

PRES­I­DENT Rodrigo Duterte's eco­nomic team has read­ied con­tin­gency pl ans,

in case the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment op­er­ates on a reen­acted 2018 bud­get in the en­tire 2019, Mala­cañang said on Fri­day, April 12.

The state­ment was made a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Rodrigo Duterte threat­ened to veto the en­tire 2019 bud­get bill, which has be­come con­tro­ver­sial be­cause of al­leged in­ser­tions and re­align­ments made by some law­mak­ers.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said Duterte merely wanted to en­sure that the pro­posed P3.757-tril­lion na­tional bud­get for 2019 was com­pli­ant with the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion.

"As a lawyer and strict en­forcer of the rule of law, the Pres­i­dent treads cau­tiously in per­form­ing his con­sti­tu­tional duty, mak­ing sure that be­fore he inks his sig­na­ture to the doc­u­ment, the lat­ter does not vi­o­late our Con­sti­tu­tion, as well as re­lated ju­rispru­dence on the mat­ter," Panelo said.

"As to the pos­si­ble reper­cus­sion on the economy of a reen­acted bud­get, our eco­nomic man­agers have con­tin­gency plans pre­pared, re­spon­sive to any con­ceiv­able event, and they will cor­re­spond­ingly adjust their targets, which in­clude the ex­e­cu­tion of pro­grams and pro­jects re­lat­ing to in­fras­truc­ture as well as the de­liv­ery of ba­sic ser­vices to the peo­ple," he added.

On Thurs­day, April 11, Duterte said he might "out­right" wield his veto power, if he finds the pro­posed 2019 bud­get "un­ac­cept­able."

The gov­ern­ment has been forced to op­er­ate on a reen­acted bud­get since Jan­uary, fol­low­ing Congress's fail­ure to pass the pro­posed 2019 bud­get be­fore Christ­mas break in De­cem­ber last year.

The much-de­layed spend­ing bill was only trans­mit­ted to Duterte's of­fice on March 26, af­ter the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ended rift over the al­leged in­ser­tions and r eal i gn m en t s.

The Pres­i­dent's lat­est pro­nounce­ment came, as he ad­mit­ted that he still needs time to re­view the P3.756-tril­lion ex­pen­di­ture plan be­cause of the claims made by the sen­a­tors and con­gress­men.

Panelo said Duterte's re­marks merely pic­tured a pos­si­ble sce­nario that the Pres­i­dent would ex­er­cise veto power "ei­ther in part or in toto," if there is any le­gal or con­sti­tu­tional in­fir­mity rel­a­tive to the pro­vi­sions of the same trans­mit­ted to his of­fice by Congress.

He like­wise stressed that Duterte's ad­min­is­tra­tion, which is com­mit­ted to be­ing a "stick­ler for the rule of law," was "very ea­ger and de­voted" to im­ple­ment poli­cies that will ben­e­fit Filipinos.

"In the light of the se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions hurled by the House and the Se­nate against each other on cer­tain un­con­sti­tu­tional in­ser­tions, the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent is ex­er­cis­ing ut­most care in the re­view and eval­u­a­tion of the GAB," the Palace of­fi­cial said.

"It is por­ing over the de­tails of the doc­u­ment and check­ing which items therein may be con­sti­tu­tion­ally in­firm or legally un­ac­cept­able pur­suant to the Pres­i­dent’s power and duty to en­sure that the law is en­forced and the Con­sti­tu­tion is free from any vi­o­la­tion," he added.

(Ruth Abbey Gita/ SunStar Philip­pines)

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