Robredo: Is delay in passing 2019 budget intentional?
MANILA, Philippines — Further delays in passing the proposed 2019 budget could have negative effects to basic services offered to the public, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday during “BISErbisyong LENI,” her weekly program which airs over AM radio station DZXL.
Asked what could possibly happen if President Rodrigo Duterte would veto the proposed budget, Robredo said in Filipino: “Basic services will suffer, for example, health and education. There are programs that are not progressing because of the unsigned budget.”
“The first quarter of the year has ended. If they decide to veto it at this point, it’s too much. We waited for so long for nothing,” she added.
Robredo wondered if the delay in passing the budget, particularly in the House of Representatives, was intentional so that 2018 budget would be reenacted instead of the President vetoing the whole 2019 proposal.
“They had a bicameral conference committee. Isn’t the House of Representatives just following the President?” she said. “So is this intentional? Is it intentional to delay the budget? Is it intentional so last year’s budget would be the one used?”
On Friday, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III expressed his support if the President would instead decide to reenact the 2018 budget to erase all possible pork barrels in it.
Several senators and House members also expressed support towards the move.
Robredo acknowledged that the President had the power to veto the proposed budget and reenact the old budget, but she said doing so would put the proposal on the brink of corruption.
“We know that when the budget is vetoed and the budget for last year will be reenacted, the President would have a lot of elbow room to decide where to put the budget. Doing so puts the budget in a huge risk of being corrupted,” she said. “It will be used for political gain. That’s why our question is: Is it intentional?”