Palace to Andaya: How can you question Duterte’s veto power?

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s veto power is lodged in the Constitution and cannot be questioned, Malacañang said on Monday.

This after House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. threatened to question before the Supreme Court the possible restoration of the PHP75 billion worth of “insertions” in the proposed 2019 budget.

“How can you question a veto power that’s lodged in the Constitution? It’s there. It’s a power of the President to veto,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said that instead of questioning before the High Court, what lawmakers are allowed to do under the Constitution is override a veto.

“What they can do under the Constitution is to override a veto. You don’t have to go to the Supreme Court. A President vetoes a measure, then Congress can override the veto by the required number of votes. There’s a mechanism,” Panelo said.

Panelo, however, said that it is Congress’ right to “question anything” before the Supreme Court.

“It’s their right to question anything that they feel should be subject to a petition before the Supreme Court. That’s their right. And in fact, that’s their duty if they feel they’re right. Let the Supreme Court decide,” Panelo said.

Asked if the President may veto the whole budget, Panelo said that “it’s in the realm of speculation”.

He also assured that the President will veto anything he feels is irregular in the proposed 2019 budget.

“The President, as we said, will be scrutinizing every phase, 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,” Panelo said.

Panelo, meanwhile, expressed confidence that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Cabinet Secretary KarloNograles would be able to respond to allegations on orchestrating the restoration of 2019 budget insertions.

“I’m sure Mr. Diokno and Mr. Nograles have the competence and the expertise to respond to the allegation of Mr. Andaya,” Panelo said.

Diokno has repeatedly denied allegations of making insertions in the proposed 2019 budget saying it was normal to make adjustments in the budget preparation phase.

He also said that Congress should respect the President’s veto power. (PNA)

changes in the proposed budget throughout the budget preparation phase,” it added. -J. Villanueva (PNA)