Duterte stresses drive vs corruption in vetoing P95b of programs in 2019 budget
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he will not tolerate corruption in his government after he vetoed P95. 3 billion worth of programs and projects which were not within their priorities from the 2019 national budget.
Duterte on Monday signed the P3.7 trillion national budget and directly vetoed 12 appropriation items under the Department of Public Works and Highways that he considered as “rider” provisions which can be considered as “unconstitutional”.
“It bears emphasis that there are items of appropriation under the DPWH which are not within the programmed priorities,” he said in his veto message released on Tuesday.
The Philippine government has been operating on last year's budget since January 1 as the House and Senate squabbled over alleged insertions in the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act.
Duterte said they heeded the nation’s call for real and lasting change.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to emphasize that the hard-earned money of our people must be used to improve the condition of our country and their overall welfare,” said Duterte.
“I have said this before and I will say it again- I will not tolerate corruption in my Administration,” he added.
He said he will not tolerate attempts to “circumvent” the Constitution and any other action that will prejudice the Filipino people he serve.
“With massive spending for economic and social services, our development pursuits will be sustained. We are ushering in the country’s golden age of infrastructure as we aggressively build our infrastructure assets,” Duterte said.
“We are also advancing our human capital, our biggest asset, in recognition of our people’s valuable role in nation-building as efficient and productive members of our society,” he added.
In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said unprogrammed items violates the Constitution, citing a Supreme Court decision.
"Remember the decision of the Supreme Court? The decision of the Supreme Court was that if they are unprogrammed, then, it violates the Constitution," said Panelo.
"Hence, it violates the Constitution. Those vetoed provisions are in violation of the Constitution or it is against certain statutes. That was also the statement made by the President," he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS