By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang assured that President Duterte will be exercising his veto power if he ever sees anything unconstitutional in the 2019 budget ratified by the Congress last week, following new pork barrel-related allegations from the House of Representatives.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. claimed that Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno were working to restore pork barrel worth P75 billion in the 2019 budget.
In his press briefing, Panelo assured that President Duterte will not allow anything unconstitutional to exist in the 2019 budget.
“Like I said before, yung mga sinasabing insertion, dati nang nandoon yun na ni-re-distribute lang (the alleged insertions were already there but were just redistributed),” he said.
“But the President, as we said, will be scrutinizing every face, every provision of the budget. He wants to be sure that it is conformity with the Constitution, and he will veto anything that he feels is not correct or irregular,” he added.
Panelo also said that Nograles and Diokno were capable of answering the new allegations thrown against them.
Right to question
Meanwhile, Panelo said it was within the rights of Andaya, and Senators Ping Lacson and Frank Drilon to question the budget in the Supreme Court.
“It’s their right to question anything that they feel should be subject to a petition before the Supreme Court. That’s their right. And In fact that ’s their duty if they feel na tama sila (that they are right). Let the Supreme Court decide,” he said.
However, Panelo doubts that questioning the budget in the Supreme Court will not hamper government programs. He added that the President may even sign the budget soon.
Earlier, Nograles assured that the 2019 budget will be scrutinized and will be free from pork barrel.