Duterte urged to veto ‘pork insertions’ in 2019 budget


MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to use his line-item veto power to remove the alleged “pork” insertions of lawmakers in the proposed 2019 national budget.

“Mr. President, you have displayed your strong political will on several occasions,” Lacson said in a Twitter post.

“This time, use your line-item veto power over the 2019 appropriations measure by removing all the ‘pork’ inserted by lawmakers who are incorrigibly insatiable and simply ‘beyond redemption’,” he added.

The line-item veto is a power granted to the President to selectively veto certain parts of a bill without vetoing the entire bill.

Lacson earlier bared that each congressman would receive PHP160 million from the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), more than the previously reported PHP60-million allocation.

He also alleged that PHP23 billion was inserted by some senators in the DPWH budget.

According to Senator Loren Legarda, the Senate targets to ratify the budget bill on Friday.

Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, said the final bicameral conference meeting between her and House of

Representatives appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. is set on Wednesday.

Malacañang said Monday it remains confident that the 2019 budget will be passed even with only three days left before Congress goes on recess in time for campaign season.

“There’s still three days left, let’s just wait. We’re still confident that it will be passed,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“We eagerly await the passage of the General Appropriations Bill. They know it will bring adverse consequences if we have a reenacted budget,” he added.

However, should Congress fail to approve the 2019 budget before recess, Panelo was optimistic it would be passed when sessions resume on May 20 after the mid-term elections.

The government has been operating under a reenacted budget since January 1.

Congress failed to pass the national budget before the end of 2018 because of allegations of “pork” insertions. (PNABy Filane Mikee Cervantes

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