Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes President Rodrigo Duterte is contemplating on vetoing the P3.757-trillion upon learning that “insertions and re-alignments” were made by House members after the national spending plan was ratified by both Houses of Congress.
“What were happening now had reached him, that it was true they did some insertions and now, they’re turning the tables on us, It has been reaching him, and he (President) knows the truth, so he said he will just veto it,” related Sotto in an interview over dwIZ on Saturday.
He recalled his earlier statement that it would reach this point -- the plan of the President to veto the budget, after House members led by appropriations committee chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya stood pat on their stand not to remove the insertions in the budget.
As of Saturday, Sotto said the President had already received the entire budget from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). He said the President and his legal staff were reviewing the budget during the weekend.
“So it is impossible to come up with a decision on Monday unless they say that the budget is now ok,” related Sotto.
Asked if the country’s economy would suffer with a reenacted budget, Sotto admitted it would have an effect, but described it as “very little.”
“First, the budget for 2018 was bigger so the money available to be used by the government would be bigger. So that already (would) dispel some issue,” said Sotto.
Secondly , the budget can be passed by July or August. He also said they could pass a new and “good” budget, without “pork insertions” for this year.
“Their term ends on June 30 so by that time, that budget will no longer be beneficial to them,” he also said.
The Senate leader said it would be much easier if they just get the President’s National Expenditures Program, which had been untouched by the House and Senate.
“This can be finshed in a matter of juat 24 hous,” he said.
If this would be the case, Sotto said the 2019 budget would be finished by August, but admitted that this process would sadden many House members seeking an advance.