2019 budget approval is Duterte's call: Panelo
Malacanang on Tuesday said it will be President Rodrigo Duterte’s call whether or not he will sign the P3.757 trillion 2019 national budget .
This after Senator Vicente Sotto III urged Duterte to veto the P75 billion worth of "internal realignments for the proposed programs or projects under the Local Infrastructure Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Sotto said he signed the budget ''with strong reservations''.
“That his (Duterte) judgement call. He will have to review the enrolled bill and if it is consistent with the Constitution then he will sign it,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
Panelo said Duterte also can express his right to veto the budget.
“It will depend on him,” he said.
According to some senators, the 2019 budget is illegal and unconstitutional due to the budget realignment by some lawmakers in the House of Representative.
“The Senate said it’s illegal, unconstitutional and the president says he will not sign anything unconstitutional as far as he’s concern. He will have to evaluate whether or not the opinion of the senate is indeed correct,” said Panelo.
“Whatever the opinion of the House will not matter with respect to the president, whether it’s unconstitutional or not. He’s a lawyer,” he said.
He said Duterte may sign the national budget in a few days as the government is really in need of it as they are operating under a re-enacted budget since January.
“Knowing the president, he will act immediately because we need a new budget,” said Panelo.
“If he feels it’s not violation of the constitution he sign it immediately. Everything will be considered by the president… he always does the right thing,” he said.
''We commend the members of congress for submitting the enrolled bill… They perform their respective job and they have finally settle their differences that’s why we are happy to know that they will finally submit it,” Panelo said. Ella Dionisio/DMS