Duterte won’t sign ‘illegal’ budget

Published March 12, 2019, 7:54 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said Monday night that he would not sign anything that will be deemed illegal in the proposed 2019 national budget.

President Rodrigo Duterte (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Duterte

Senator Ping Lacson earlier said that the government may have to operate under a re-enacted budget until August because of the controversies surrounding the General Appropriations Act.

The President cited the ongoing debate between both Houses of Congress over billions worth of realignments in the budget.

“I’ve said my piece: I will not sign anything that will be an illegal document,” Duterte assured.

Duterte also raised the dangers of working on a re-enacted budget, saying it will affect everyone and everything in the country.

“Magkaroon tayo ng slide sa GDP niyan (Our gross domestic product will take a dip) if we are going to reenact the budget,” he said.

“Everyone will suffer including our law enforcement,” he added.

Earlier, Lacson has alleged that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directed the realignments of P25 million from the Department of Health (DOH) for her favored congressmen.

Senate President Tito Sotto also said that the House of Representatives allegedly realigned some P79 billion under the ratified 2019 national budget.

However, House appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya said that the 2019 national budget contained “lump-sum funds that need to be further itemized by both Houses” when it was ratified.

He also said that senators are free to tell President Duterte to veto the budget if they feel that some portions are “constitutionally-infirm and legally-flawed” adding that the lower house would respect the presidential veto.