Duterte tells Congress: Solve budget impasse on your own

Published March 21, 2019, 3:53 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte will not lift a finger to address the stalled proposed 2019 national budget due to the congressional showdown between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after the House of Representatives ordered that their itemized version of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) be “physically retrieved” from the Senate last Wednesday.

“Well, the President is not making any move. His last statement was, ‘Solve it on your own,'” he said.

“If national interest is a concern, then I suppose every member of Congress knows that and they have to respond to the needs of the times,” he added.

Senate leaders have refused to sign the House-submitted bill because of supposed post-ratification realignments by House leaders that was deemed by the Upper House as unconstitutional and a criminal act.

Early this week, Malacañang welcomed the apparent reconciliation of both chambers of Congress on the proposed 2019 budget, saying they now await the submission of the enrolled bill for President Duterte’s signing.

“We welcome that they have finally settled their differences so we hope that they would be submitting the enrolled bill; and for the President to go over it and sign it if it conforms with the Constitution,” he said Monday.

“Members of the House have finally realized that whatever conflicts they have with the Senate should be set aside for the general welfare,” he added.

The Palace official, meanwhile, said that lawmakers should now learn that their personal issues should come second to the welfare of the people.

“Well they should always look at the interest of the people as the primary objective not personal differences with members of each house,” Panelo said.

Last week, President Duterte said that he will not sign anything that will be deemed illegal as both houses of Congress continued to argue about the proposed 2019 national budget.

Senator Ping Lacson earlier alleged that 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.

Arroyo has denied that the House of Representatives did anything illegal with the proposed 2019 budget.