MANILA- Malacañang's statements on the proposed 2019 national budget were not of President Rodrigo Duterte, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
This, after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier expressed “shock” over the House of Representative's move to suspend budget deliberations last week and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno's remark that the executive would instead "wait for a friendlier Congress."
Speaking to reporters, House Majority Leader Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said the President did not express such sentiments.
"The unfortunate statements which were uttered by various parties referring to a reenacted budget, friendlier Congress, this and that were not authorized by the President," Andaya said.
"We personally spoke to him (President Duterte) and he did not utter those words. Let's leave it at that. I think the President has opened the lines of communication and a possible agreement on how the budget for 2019 will be executed and how it will come out from the House of Representatives," he added.
Andaya on Tuesday night met with the President together with House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over budget concerns.
"Let me clarify [that] there is no rejection of any proposal from the Palace. A lot of the hype was probably due to miscommunication but now, after our meeting last night with the President, I think we've established clear lines of communication," Andaya said.
The lawmaker added that he asked Duterte about Roque's remarks and noted that the President said he does not meddle with such things.
"As far as I know, when we asked him (Duterte) if he knew about that statement, ang sabi lang niya 'hindi ako nakikialam diyan' (he said 'I don't meddle with such matters'),” Andaya said.
During Tuesday's meeting, the President even renewed support for Arroyo's speakership, Andaya said.
"That has been made clear to the President, we are not antagonizing them, we just wanted to make sure the budget presented to us and the budget we will turn out represents the promises of the President," he added.
Following a compromise with the Department of Budget and Management, the House said it is set to resume budget deliberations.
-- report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News