MANILA -- Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Sunday said he will not sign a ratified 2019 national budget if alleged changes made by the House of Representatives are proven.
Some P79 billion in the ratified 2019 budget was realigned by the lower chamber of Congress, Sotto claimed Saturday.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, alleged that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo realigned P25 million in the budget to favor certain lawmakers after it was ratified by both chambers. She denied this.
“I will not sign anything that we did not approve. You should know me better than that,” Sotto in a text message.
The Senate President earlier said he has discussed the matter with Palace officials, who will in turn talk to the lower chamber.
He said he has also brought up the matter with President Rodrigo Duterte during the official visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
"Basta ako nakakasiguro ako na si Presidente naiintindihan ang posisyon ko," he said.
(I am sure that the President understands my position.)
The government is currently running on a reenacted budget.
Lawmakers failed to approve the P3.7-trillion expenditure plan before their Christmas break last year due to supposed insertions by the budget department and the presence of pork barrel funds.
Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News