Malacañang said that even though Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado was on medical leave, he was able to submit to the Palace the Executive Department’s final proposed budget for 2022.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that Avisado will be on medical leave from August 2 to 13, 2021.
In his press briefing on Monday, August 2, Roque said Avisado was able to finalize the proposed national budget before going on leave.
“Bagama’t Secretary Avisado is on sick leave, naisumite po niya ang pinal na proposed budget natin (Even though Secretary Avisado is on leave, he was able to submit our final proposed budget),” he said.
“Pini-print na po ang ating (We are now printing the) national expenditure plan for submission to Congress. So natapos po ‘yun (So we were able to finish that),” he added.
Over the weekend, reports circulated that Avisado had resigned from his post as secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The DBM had released a clarification, saying Avisado went on medical leave. In his press briefing, Roque said he had no reason to doubt DBM’s press release.
“As of now, those (resignation reports) are rumors because I received a copy of the press release of the DBM,” Roque said.
“I have no basis to question the accuracy of that press release. He’s on medical leave,” he added,
According to the DBM, Avisado is on medical leave from August 2 to 13, 2021, following his recent bout with COVID-19 where he was hospitalized for eight days and quarantined for over a month.
His leave was also upon the advice of his doctor to undertake a series of examinations as it has been 14 years since undergoing a quadruple open heart bypass.
To ensure that services of the DBM remained unhampered, Budget Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda was tapped to serve as officer-in-charge during Avisado’s absence.
“Rest assured that the DBM remains steadfast and committed to its mandate of promoting the efficient and effective management of the national budget to support its budget priorities especially in the midst of the pandemic,” the DBM press release read.
President Duterte has recently tasked Avisado and the DBM to source the funds for the cash assistance to be given to residents who will be affected by Metro Manila’s shift to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20, 2021.