MANILA, Philippines – Anyone is free to question before the Supreme Court the 2019 national budget if they feel that it violated the high tribunal’s earlier ruling invalidating the pork barrel system, Malacañang said Monday.
“It’s their right to question anything that they feel should be subject to a petition before the Supreme Court. That’s their right,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo issued the reaction after House of Representatives appropriations committe chairperson and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya said he would join Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon in questioning the veto message to the Supreme Court over alleged “insertions” and questionable allocations.
In a 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court declared the “pork barrel” system unconstitutional, which prohibited “personal, lump-sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine.”
Panelo said the President would “be scrutinizing every face, every provision of the budget.”
“He wants to be sure that it is in conformity with the Constitution and he will veto anything that he feels is not correct or irregular,” he said.
The Palace official said Congress could override if they do not want the veto of the President.
“How can you question a veto power that is lodged in the Constitution. It’s there. It’s a power of the President to veto. What they can do under the Constitution is to override a veto. You don’t have to go the Supreme Court,” he said.
“If President vetoes a measure, then Congress can override the veto by the required number of votes. That is the mechanism,” he added.
Asked about the latest allegation of Andaya that Budget Secretary Benjanin Diokno and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles were conspiring to restore the P75 billion “pork,” he said, “I am sure Mr. Diokno and Mr. Nograles have the competence and the expertise to respond the allegation of Mr. Andaya.”
Diokno has dismissed this as “baseless, premature and irresponsible” while Nograles has yet to respond to INQUIRER.net for comment. / gsg
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