(Eagle News)—-The P95.3 billion worth of items vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte from the national budget were “unconstitutional,” the Palace said on Tuesday, April 16.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the provisions vetoed by the President were in the first place “the so-called insertions, riders,” or they were not part of the program of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
He said those vetoed were also “unprogrammed.”
“Remember the decision of the Supreme Court? The decision of the Supreme Court was that if they are unprogrammed, then, it violates the Constitution,” he said.
He was referring to the decision by the SC five years ago which declared as unconstitutional, by a vote of 14-0, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Using as basis the then-2013 national budget, the SC declared as unconstitutional the “entire 2013 PDAF article; all legal provisions of past and present Congressional pork barrel laws, such as the previous PDAF and (Countrywide Development Fund) Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators—whether individually or collectively organized into committees—to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment, unrelated to the power of congressional oversight; all legal provisions of past and present Congressional pork barrel laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF articles and the various Congressional insertions, which confer/red personal, lump-sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine; all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of discretion,” among others.
It also declared as unconstitutional the phrases “and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President” under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910 and “to finance the priority infrastructure development projects” under Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, for both “failing the sufficient standard test in violation of the principle of non-delegability of legislative power” in the then-2013 national budget.
In vetoing the provisions which the Senate had said were House “illegal alignments,” the Duterte said these were not a priority of the government at this time.
The House has maintained the insertions were mere “itemizations” that would make the budget bill easier to scrutinize.