Palace keeps distance from 'zero budget' threat vs federalism foes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2018 12:42 PM | Updated as of Jul 16 2019 01:09 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing to do with the threat of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to give "zero budget" to local politicians who will not support federalism, Malacañang said Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told DZMM radio that the President's stand is that he will not interfere with the affairs of Congress.

In an interview with DZMM radio, Roque added that while the palace respects the views of Alvarez, it was doubtful that local government units that defy the House Speaker will get defunded.

"Meron din po tayong mga umiiral na batas, yung batas na nagsasabi na ang ira (internal revenue allotment) po ay automatically disbursed," Roque said.

(We have a prevailing law which says the internal revenue allotment is automatically disbursed.)

"Sa amin po, mahirap matuloy kasi nga para magka-zero budget dapat sumangguni ang senado at kamara de representante," Roque said.

(For our part, zero budget is unlikely because this needs to go through the Senate and the House of Representatives.)

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Alvarez last week warned that local politicians who would not back federalism would receive "zero budget."

His statement came just days after the House hastily adopted a resolution to convene as a constituent assembly that will draft a new charter and pave the way for federalism.

Senators and former chief justices criticized the move as a form of "railroading" as the resolution was adopted without going through debates at the plenary. With a report from Cherry Palma, ABS-CBN News