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Andaya tells Malacañang: Bare vetoed parts in 2019 budget

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday urged Malacañang to bare the details of the provisions in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. made the call after Duterte signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act but vetoed more than P95 billion items of appropriations in the details of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

READ: Duterte signs P3.7-T national budget for 2019

Andaya said the Palace should reveal the details of the vetoed provisions “in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public.”

“I urge Malacañang to release the President’s veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker also hinted that the Senate’s alleged pork barrel remains intact in the newly-signed 2019 budget, saying this could be the reason why Senators are in celebratory mood over the deletion of the House amendments amounting to P95.3 billion.

“My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments. Does this mean that the Senate port remains intact? Could this be the reason for their celebratory mood?” Andaya said.

The solon also argued that the President’s veto on several items in the budget could be “conditional” in nature.

“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,” he said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message on Monday that Duterte vetoed some parts in the budget that were not part of the administration’s “programmed priorities.”

Andaya has been insisting that the realignments they made were not post-ratification as these had been authorized by the bicameral conference committee report and did not exceed the expenditure ceilings of respective departments and agencies.

He also said that Senate President Vicente Sotto’s signing of the budget bill with strong reservations was ill-advised and baseless.

READ: Andaya hits Sotto’s “strong reservations” in signing 2019 budget bill 

Meanwhile, Senators have expressed relief with the signing of the budget and commended Duterte for vetoing the questionable insertions in the 2019 spending program.   

“I am relieved that the 2019 budget has finally been signed, primarily because further delay would have caused adverse effects on our macroeconomy,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.

“The veto is proof that the Senate was right all along in saying that the changes made were unconstitutional,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also lauded Duterte’s move, calling the signing of the “pork-free” national budget a “victory for Filipino taxpayers.”

“If there is one act of PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) that is worthy of admiration, this veto message is on top of my list,” Lacson added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also believes that Duterte’s decision to reject the P95-billion items of appropriations is constitutional.

“The President’s line item veto is based on legal and constitutional grounds, and not because the President sided with the Senate,” Drilon said.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, urged her colleagues and the public to be alert to ensure that the taxpayers’ money will be spent accordingly.

“Magbantay tayo para matiyak na ang huling piso ay sa kapakanan ng taumbayan mapupunta,” she said.

(We should be on guard to ensure that the last peso will be spent on the public’s welfare.) – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Malacañang opposes delay in return of Canada trash

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday (May 23) said President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow a delay in the return of trash shipment to Canada.

Thus, Panelo said Duterte’s order of tapping the service of a private shipping company to immediately ship the abandoned trash back to Canadian territory will push through at the soonest possible time even at the expense of the Philippine government.

“I understand from secretary Dominguez that malapit nang ipadala. The trash will be sent back the soonest,” the Presidential Spokesperson said.

On Wednesday (May 22), the Canadian government through its Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said they have already hired a shipping company to safely bring the waste back to Canada.

But Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said: “The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements.”

“Sabi nila it will take end of June pa. Hindi papayag si President noon,” Panelo stressed.

“We will not allow ourselves to be a dumping ground of trash,” he concluded. – (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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Alias ‘Bikoy’ should prove allegations to be credible — Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

(L-R) Vice President Leni Robredo and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 23) refused to give its assessment on the credibility of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy following the retraction of his previous claims.

Advincula previously confessed as the man behind a series of narco-videos entitled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” that linked President Rodrigo Duterte and his family to illegal drugs trade.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Advincula should submit first evidence that would prove his claims and allegations against the personalities he was implicating.

The Palace is leaving it up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on what charges they will file against Advincula as consequences of his actions and for any violations of the law.

“We will have to wait for Bikoy or Advincula to substantiate his charges and after that we’ll see if there are charges to be filed in court then the truth will come out,” Panelo said.

“As I said repeatedly, no matter how you close, you cover, truth will always come out,” he added.

Malacañang, meanwhile, strongly denied the allegation of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who claimed that alias Bikoy’s retraction was another ploy by the Duterte administration to pin down the opposition.

“In the first place the opposition has been harassing this government, this administration. they are the ones sowing intrigues as we repeatedly said,” Panelo said.

Advincula surrendered to the police and revealed that everything he said in the videos were orchestrated by the Liberal Party (LP) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Vice President Leni Robredo in a televised conference following Advincula’s surrender said all allegations is “unfair” to the opposition party.

“Napakaraming pangalan na nasambit. Ang Liberal Party once again (ay) nahila dito sa controversy. I can speak for the party. Wala kaming kinalaman dito sa Bikoy issue,” Robredo said.

“There were so many names mentioned. The Liberal Party was once again tagged in the controversy. I can speak for the party. We have nothing to do with this Bikoy issue.)

“Unfair na isali uli ang LP dito. Kung ito ay harassment, kung ito ay ginagawang paraan para lalong yurakan o tapakan ang Liberal Party o kaming nasa oposisyon, hindi ito magiging dahilan para magpatinag tayo, para huminto tayo sa pagpupuna kung may kailangang punahin,” she concluded.

(I find it unfair to again tag LP. If this is harassment to pull down the Liberal Party or the opposition, this will not be a reason for us to stop to criticize.) (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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No need to protest Morales’ HK incident – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 23) said there was no harassment inflicted against former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales when she was barred by immigration officials at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday (May 21).

Thus, Malacañang believes there is no reason for the Philippine government to file a protest against the Chinese state.

“Parang ang gusto yata ng iba, bumanat tayo. But you know, tinanong ko si ano, kumusta naman ang trato? Kung binastos siya o minis-treat siya, hindi pwede sa atin iyon. We will definitely protest pero hindi naman,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

(Others want us to hit back. But you know, I asked how she was treated. Was she harassed or mistreated? If that’s so, we will not allow that. We will definitely protest but that was not the case.)

Panelo’s remarks were in response to opposition senator, Risa Hontiveros who urged the government to protest against Hong Kong over the incident.

Panelo said the Palace does not want to speculate of the reason why Immigration authorities denied the former Ombudsman entry to their domain.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that the incident might be related to the charges filed by Morales to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping over territorial dispute in the South China and West Philippine Sea.

Hong Kong legislator Ted Hui Chi-Fung, meanwhile, criticized the actions of the Hong Kong Immigration personnel against Morales saying: “This incident yet again showed that Beijing has exercised control over Hong Kong’s immigration which is clearly against the Rule of Law and Hong Kong Basic Law.”

But for Malacañang, Panelo said they do not consider Morales a threat to national security nor a destabilizer.

“She is entitled to her opinion she exercises her right to freedom of expression. And we respect that, all of us,” Panelo concluded. – (with details from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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