MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will "surely" veto several portions of the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget, his spokesman said Friday, a week before the chief executive signs the spending bill into law.
Some items in the budget were "recommended for veto," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told Palace reporters in a phone interview.
"Sigurado na magkakaroon ng veto message," he said.
(There will surely be a veto message.)
The Presidential spokesperson declined to confirm whether or not the items to be vetoed were the questionable projects earlier flagged by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss ano itong mga items na ito," Roque said.
(I'm not at liberty to discuss what these items are.)
Lacson had slammed House lawmakers for retaining - and even increasing - some P63-billion worth of infrastructure projects, at the expense of more necessary items during the COVID-19 pandemic, like vaccines and the National Broadband Plan.
"Hindi ako sang-ayon sa sense of priorities," the senator earlier said.
(I do not agree with the sense of priorities.)
Lacson initially wanted to formally write to Malacañang to offer help in identifying "unreasonable reductions" and realignments under the 2021 spending bill, but later on withdrew his plan, saying he does not want to impose on the President.
Under the law, the President may reject some amendments lawmakers inserted in the national budget, but he is unauthorized to reallocate the funds to other projects.
Duterte is expected to sign the 2021 national budget on December 28, 2020.