MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday deferred to Congress the resolving of the issue on the alleged PHP55-billion worth of insertions in the PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget.
On Monday, the plenary debates of the House of Representatives (HoR) on the national budget was stalled due to claims of insertions in the budget of some lawmakers.
The conflict happened between Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chair of the House Appropriations panel, and House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., after the latter discovered insertions in the former's budget report.
Lawmakers floated the idea that Nograles would be kicked out, but both him and Andaya denied this.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said MalacaAang could only take responsibility for proposing the PHP3.757 trillion budget through the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
Let me put it this way MalacaAang proposed the budget through the NEP; and therefore, we take responsibility for what appears in the NEP. If it is true that there are items which were not in the NEP, then we do not know where that came from, Roque said in a Palace briefing.
We leave it to the House to do as it deems proper with these items. Pero ang pinaninindigan po ng Palasyo, iyong budget ni Presidente na sinumite sa Kongreso, sa pamamagitan ng NEP (But the Palace is standing by, the budget of the PrEsident which was submitted to the Congress through NEP), he added.
Roque emphasized that MalacaAang respected the constitutional mandate of Congress, which has the power of the purse.
We have actually discharged our constitutional function when we submitted the NEP or the proposed budget to Congress. It's the call of Congress how it will change the NEP, subject to constitutional limitations; cannot be increased, can be reduced, Roque said.
Asked if the alleged insertions qualify as pork barrel, Roque said he was not sure what the controversy is in the House.
I know as much as you do based on newspaper reports. I was not even able to monitor what was ongoing because of the President's activity happened at the same time that the ruckus happened at the House, Roque said.
Roque reiterated his appeal that the proposed budget as submitted should be approved. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency