Palace: Duterte may veto 2020 budget as pork claims persist

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2019 03:00 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo would not hesitate to reject the 2020 national budget if he found it unconstitutional, his spokesman Salvador Panelo assured the public Tuesday as claims of insertions in the spending plan persisted.

Duterte would “scrutinize” the budget, Panelo told reporters following Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that congressmen would supposedly get P700 million in allocations under the proposed spending plan.

“On pork issue, the President is a lawyer, if it is unconstitutional, he will veto that,” Panelo said.

“The President will definitely scrutinize it. That is his constitutional duty to scrutinize the budget,” he said.

Duterte has certified as urgent the proposed 2020 budget, calling for the immediate passage to "maintain continuous government operations" and to avoid a repeat of this year’s delay.

It can be recalled that government operated on a reenacted 2018 budget until April when Duterte signed the P3.7 trillion national budget with vetoed items that included “insertions” applied by congressmen covering public works projects.

Last week, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said lawmakers are entitled to a P100 million allocation under the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget. The allocation, according to Salceda, was proposed by lawmakers for inclusion in the spending plan.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Saturday assured the public that pork barrel allocations would not get past his chamber after the House of Representatives approved the proposed budget bill.