Solons don’t see Duterte total veto of 2019 budget

A HOUSE leader yesterday expressed strong belief President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte would not veto the entire 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget considering that the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo backed the priority projects and anti-corruption campaign of the Chief Executive under the national expenditure program (NEP).

Unlike the Senate which allegedly pushed the unconstitutional lump sum fund, House senior Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta said Arroyo also promoted transparency and accountability in the national budget when it worked on the itemization of lawmakers’ projects through Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya, Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations.

“I don’t think the President will veto the 2019 budget in its entirety. He knows only too well the downside of a re-enacted budget. The posturing of a few senators cannot compromise his duty to decide for the greater good,” said Marcoleta after President Duterte said that he may veto the whole of the national budget if he finds it problematic.

House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez and House Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro agreed with Marcoleta.

“We maintain that the budget was drafted and passed by the House of Representatives according to long-established and duly constituted legislative processes. And we stand ready to address any concerns that the Palace may have in its review of the 2019 GAB,” said Suarez. “The House of Representatives, under SGMA leadership, has clearly defined its legislative agenda to be always in accord with and always in full support of President Duterte’s priority bills and programs,” Castro pointed out.

Castro said the House pushed for the itemization of projects to comply with the Supreme Court ruling against pork barrel.

“Amid downright intrigues and bizarre accusations, the HoR worked hard to enhance transparency and accountability in the 2019 GAB. This move is in sync with President Duterte’s strong and unflinching stance against corruption and wastage of public funds,” Castro explained.

“The HoR firmly supports President Digong’s action on the GAB.  Tuloy ang trabaho. Tuloy ang paglilingkod. Tuloy ang pagbabago,” Castro added.

Earlier, Andaya said vetoing the entire 2019 national budget would prevent the Senate from allegedly sabotaging the priority projects of President Duterte.

Andaya said the P83 billion that allegedly the Senate unilaterally cut down in the national budget, which would affect the “Build, Build, Build Program” of President Duterte will not prosper under a 2018 P3.767-trillional general appropriations act (GAA) reenacted budget.

“If President Duterte eventually decides to adopt a reenacted budget throughout the year, that will give him an opportunity to restore more than P80 billion which was slashed by the Senate from allocations intended for the President’s projects. After all, that is the President’s budget and his priorities should not be tinkered with,” Andaya explained.