Andaya wants Malacañang to release details of vetoed provisions in 2019 budget

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2019 10:44 PM | Updated as of Apr 15 2019 11:12 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday asked Malacañang to immediately reveal the details of the provisions of the 2019 budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.  

House Committee on Appropriations chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said it was unclear what Duterte removed from this year's General Appropriations Act. 

"Thus, in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public, I urge Malacanang to release the President's veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document," Andaya said in a statement. 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III had earlier urged Duterte to veto "unconstitutional" provisions within the spending plan, including the alleged realignment of a P75-billion chunk of the proposal.
 
Andaya however said Sotto was ill-advised by his lawyers and that the Senate President's "reservations" in budget bill had no legal basis. 

"My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments. Does this mean that the Senate pork remains intact?" Andaya's statement said. 

Sotto, for his part, reiterated the signed budget is "the people's victory."

"We do not need to pay attention to brickbats. It's the people's victory. The illegal realignments cannot escape the President's scrutiny," Sotto said.

Meanwhile Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday commended President Rodrigo Duterte for coming up with a "pork-free" national budget.

This after Duterte vetoed a total of P95.3 billion in the budget, which he also signed Monday.

"I would like to personally commend the president and his economic managers for coming up with a "pork-free" national budget," Lacson said in a statement

He also said the signed budget is a "victory for Filipino taxpayers."

Lacson earlier said some P75 billion in funds had been realigned by the House to various lawmakers. 

The amount was earlier questioned by House members as an alleged insertion by former Budget Secretary and now Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno into the proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways, delaying deliberations. 

Diokno denied any irregularity in the budget increase. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said Duterte's veto is proof the Senate was right in saying the changes made by the House of Representatives were unconstitutional.

"I also appreciate that the President has chosen to veto the changes made by the Lower House to the ratified version of the General Appropriations Bill. The veto is proof that the Senate was right all along in saying that the changes made were unconstitutional," he said in a statement. 

"With the General Appropriations Act now enacted, the government can finally focus on catching up with the implementation of pending projects that were delayed because of the budget impasse," Gatchalian added.