Did senators get their pork? — Andaya

Rolando Andaya Jr.

THE senators are rejoicing over the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to veto some line items while signing into law the 2019 General Appropriations Act.

This is according to House Committee on Appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. as he stressed that senators are having their share of pork without telling the public how much.

“My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments,” he said.

“Does this mean that the Senate pork remains intact? Could this be the reason for their celebratory mood. Hindi Biyernes Santo sa Senado ngayon kundi Pasko,” he added.

Unlike the House, Andaya said senators have never been transparent with their insertions.

“It behooves the  Senate to tell the people how much in their insertions were carried in the national budget? And how big is the bacon each senator is bringing home,” he stressed.

“On the part of the House, we have been transparent as to the authorship of the amendments. The Senate has been silent about theirs.  It’s time to break their Omerta,” he said.

President Duterte has signed the P3.757-trillion national budget but vetoed provisions on P95.3 billion worth of programs and projects introduced by the House of Representatives after both chambers ratified the version approved by the bicameral committee.

In the spirit of transparency, Andaya requested Malacanang to release the veto message.

The President vetoed P95.3 billion in appropriations for the Department of Public Works and Highways because the items were not part of the President’s priority projects.

“Thus, in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public, I urge Malacanang to release the President’s veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document,” Andaya said.

Meanwhile, Andaya explained that there are many kinds of veto.  There is the direct veto, and the conditional veto.

He said the presi-dent can also place several provisions under  conditional implementation and attach requisites before an appropriation can be released so that such act complies with the laws.

“I believe that the veto being speculated about is of the conditional kind.  As such, the appropriation remains but its release is subject to conditions,” the House leader said.

On the other hand, House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro said the Lower Chamber welcomes the President’s signing of the 2019 budget.

Castro said the House respects Duterte’s decision to veto some items in the budget.