Contingency plans'ready' if Dutertevetoes2019 budget
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)