After long delays in its passage, President Duterte has finally signed the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget, Malacañang said last night.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that the budget has indeed been signed but disclosed the Chief Executive vetoed P95.3-billion worth of appropriations since they are “not part of the President’s priority projects.”
“The President, among others, vetoed P95.3-billion items of appropriations in the Details of DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) Programs/Projects, which are not within the programmed priorities,” Medialdea said.
The government has been operating on a reenacted budget since Jan. 1 after lawmakers failed to pass the bill last year due to alleged pork “insertions.”
Duterte had said he will not hesitate to veto the entire 2019 national budget if he finds that there are problematic provisions there that would be deemed unconstitutional.
“Pagka talagang tagilid ‘yan. I will outright veto the entire budget,” Duterte threatened.
“Eh hindi magkasundo ang Congress pati ang Senado eh, pati yung mga insertions diyan titignan ko. Pagka tagilid talaga, I will not hesitate to veto the entire budget. Eh ‘di pasensya tayong lahat,” he said.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III had earlier said he will support a presidential veto of the entire national budget if Duterte should find irregularities in the measure.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had also earlier said Duterte has the right to veto certain realignments and would not sign anything “unconstitutional.”
“(The Office of the President) is poring over the details of the document and checking which items therein may be constitutionally infirm or legally unacceptable pursuant to the President’s power and duty to ensure that the law is enforced and the Constitution is free from any violation,” he said.
“As a lawyer and strict enforcer of the rule of law, the President treads cautiously in performing his constitutional duty making sure that before he inks his signature to the document, the latter does not violate our Constitution, as well as related jurisprudence on the matter,” he added. (Argyll Geducos and PNA)