Duterte finds nothing wrong with preparation of 2019 nat’l budget by Diokno

Published January 8, 2019, 5:32 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Genalyn Kabiling

What budget insertion?

President Duterte has found nothing wrong with the preparation of proposed 2019 national budget by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo

The President defended Diokno from allegations he inserted billions of pesos in this year’s national budget, saying such adjustment was part of the budget process.

“Sabi ni Presidente kagabi, ano iyong insertion, how can you insert something na ikaw ang nagpe-prepare? Kaya nga nagpe-prepare, di ikaw talaga ang gumagawa noon, hindi ba [The President said last night, what insertion? How can you insert something that you prepare? You prepare it so naturally you’ll be the one to do it, right?],” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a Palace news conference.

Panelo pointed out that the executive prepares the budget proposal while it was up to Congress to amend the measure as they see fit.

“There is no such animal as insertion. There is only amendments. Kasi kapag dumating sa kanila, sa House, kapag ayaw nila iyon, ia-amend nila,” he said.

“Hindi sila nag-i-insert. They will be amending that. Kasi parang kapag sinabi mong insertion parang iligal eh, irregular,” he added.

Andaya earlier accused Diokno of inserting some P75.5 billion in this year’s budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the P3.757-trillion national budget.

Diokno however dismissed Andaya’s accusations as “illusory.” He clarified that they merely augmented the DPWH budget to ensure the 5-percent gross domestic product share of infrastructure will be met. The proposed DPWH budget for 2019 has been raised to P555.7 billion from P480.2 billion.

“Given the adjustment, it was the DPWH who filled out their budgetary allocation with the specific project listing. The mandate of the DBM is limited to setting the budget ceiling and evaluating agency proposals by program (not by project because that is the role of the implementing agency),” Diokno said.