Lacson says 2020 budget may still have 'questionable items'


Posted at Jan 06 2020 07:41 PM

MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson said there may still be questionable items in the 2020 national budget that President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law.

The President on Monday signed into law the P4.1 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020, which is 9 percent higher than the P3.76 trillion budget for 2019.

According to Lacson, there were questionable items that were inserted into the budget after both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed their respective versions of the budget.

"Ako, mine-maintain ko mayroon talagang mga questionable kasi na-point out ko na ito na mayroong mga items na na-insert after noong maipasa na ng both houses 'yung budget, 'yung Senate version at 'yung House version," he said.

"Ang sinasabi ko, wala ngang kaibahan 'yun doon sa bago lumabas 'yung ruling ng Korte Suprema declaring pork barrel as unconstitutional dahil may post-enactment ang implementation," Lacson added.

Lacson earlier said Duterte's veto power is the "only hope" to remove alleged last-minute insertions in the 2020 national budget that hurdled a bicameral conference of senators and congressmen last year.

He, however, clarified he has yet to receive information on which provisions of the budget were vetoed by Duterte, if any.

Of the P4.1 trillion budget, 36 percent will be set aside for education, healthcare, housing, and social welfare, Duterte said.

Another 29 percent will be used to fund infrastructure, tourism, trade, job generation, and agriculture projects, while 11 percent will be allotted for debt servicing, he added.

Bickering among lawmakers over alleged insertions in the 2019 budget led to a delay in its passage to April of that year, slowing economic growth in the first half.