Pangasinan affected by realigned budget – SP Sotto

CONGRESS IMPASSE

LINGAYEN–Pangasinan was one of the provinces affected by the recent impasse when the House of Representatives recalibrated the 2019 national budget after it was already ratified during a bicameral meeting between leaders of the House and the Senate.

In a talk to newsmen after he addressed the commemorative program marking 439th Pangasinan Day at Sison Auditorium here, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said realigned were P75 billion peso worth of projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)..

He said these projects are not those of the congressmen but of the DPWH under the Build, Build, Build program allocated to different provinces.

The budget for these projects were realigned for favored districts at the expense of provinces like Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Samar and Zamboanga del Sur, he added.

Asked by newsmen if President Duterte will veto the budget because of the recalibration by the House after ratification, Sotto said he doubts that the chief executive will veto the entire budget but may only apply it to a portion.

“We are talking here about two to three percent of the budget. And this is precisely contained in a copy we sent to him which we felt as unconstitutional.

He was referring to the items in the budget that were realigned after a ratification which was not part of what the House and the Senate agreed during their bicameral conference.

“Ang sinasabi namin ay yong mga ginalaw nila na pati ang Pangasainan ay tinamaan,” Sotto stressed.

At the same time, Sotto refuted charges by leaders of the House that it was the Senate which did this saying “this is completely false”.

He also foresees somebody will elevate the issue to the Supreme Court if the President will not veto any of the questionable items in the budget.

Sotto said the transferred items can still be restored by way of a supplemental budget in the 18th Congress. (Leonardo Micua)

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