‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’ | Palace: Vetoed provisions in 2019 budget ‘illegal insertions’

1 week ago

(APRIL 16, 2019) – Malacañang on Tuesday described as “illegal insertions” the vetoed P95.3-billion provisions in the much-delayed 2019 national budget.

“Those are the so-called insertions [or] riders. They are not part of the program by the DPWH, hence it violates the Constitution,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening finally signed the 2019 spending plan, ending the lawmakers’ months-long squabble over alleged budget insertions and realignments.

AFTER FOREVER | Pres. Duterte signs 2019 budget, vetoes P95.3-B worth of items
Panelo noted that the controversial P75-billion infrastructure “insertions” did not make the cut as they were “unconstitutional.”

“Remember the decision of the Supreme Court, that if they (items) are unprogrammed, then they violate the Constitution,” he added.

The Palace spokesman also noted that the president’s veto was direct and not conditional.

In an earlier statement, House Appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya claimed the veto was conditional, saying that “the appropriation remains but its release is subject to conditions.”

The Camarines Sur lawmaker also called on Malacañang to immediately release Duterte’s full veto message.

RIGHT DECISION?

At least two senators have expressed support for the president’s call to veto billions-worth of infrastructure projects.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said the move results in savings of P19.06-billion in “pork commission,” which amounts to the 20 percent of the vetoed P95-billion funds.

“If there is one act of PRRD that is worthy of admiration, this veto message is on top of my list. With his guts, glory comes to the Filipino taxpayers,” he wrote on Twitter.

Senator Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, assured the public that the veto did not mean Duterte was favoring the senators.

“The President’s line item veto is based on legal and constitutional grounds, and not because the President sided with the Senate,” he said in a statement.

Prior to the approval of the 2019 spending bill, the government operated on a re-enacted budget since January.