Lawmakers to respect Duterte veto on 2019 budget

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2019   •   3096

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers will respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s exercise of his veto power on the proposed P3.7-trillion 2019 national budget.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said vetoing the entire budget and other proposed bills that are illegal and do not agree with his programs is a president’s prerogative under the Philippine constitution.

“To veto the entire budget is a prerogative and power of the President under the constitution if he is of the opinion that the budget bill is unconstitutional, or does not support his program of government,” Drilon said.

“That is how our system is outlined in the Constitution–the President has the final say,” he said.

Senate Finance Committee chairperson Loren Legarda also echoed Drilon’s statement.

“That’s the president’s prerogative and we will respect whatever his decision will be,” Legarda said.

House leaders also assured to respect the President’s veto power, stressing that this will be for the common good of the country.

“We respect the veto power of the President, and we are convinced that he will exercise such authority for the benefit of the nation and of our people,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya, Jr.

On Thursday, Duterte threatened to veto the entire budget if it turns out problematic.

“The budget has just been submitted. I have to sign it once I return. I am still studying the budget,” he said during a campaign sortie in Bacolod City.

“So ang legal ko magbasa uli. Ngayon pagka talagang tagilid ‘yan, (My legal team is reviewing it. Now, if it’s really problematic)

I will outright veto the entire budget,” he added.

The passage of the proposed spending program was long delayed due to an impasse between lawmakers over the alleged realignments made by the House of Representatives after the bill was ratified by both chambers of Congress.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed strong reservations when he signed the enrolled copy of the bill in late March, maintaining that the P75-billion worth of projects under the local infrastructure program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) funded through the “internal realignments” were “unconstitutional.”

Andaya, in turn, slammed Sotto’s “unwarranted” move and accused the Senate of snipping down funds for infrastructure projects.

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

According to Senator Koko Pimentel, Duterte’s threat to veto the entire budget may be the President’s way of saying to Congress to “get your act together.”

“The country will survive a year without a budget (by operating under the previous year’s budget),” he added.

The government has been operating on a reenacted budget since January after the Congress failed to pass the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act on time.

But Duterte’s economic advisers have warned that a reenacted budget until April could slow down full-year economic growth to as much as 6.3 percent; 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent if the budget is enacted in August and 4.2 percent to 4.9 percent if no new budget is signed this year.

Malacañang earlier said the 2019 budget bill may be signed after the Lenten break as the President is still perusing the document.

READ: Palace: Duterte may sign 2019 national budget after Lenten break

The Palace statement came after it withdrew an earlier advisory on the tentative schedule of the budget’s signing on April 15.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the supposed event was removed from the President’s schedule for next week, stressing that all his schedules are subject to change without prior notice. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Duterte declares July 31 a regular holiday for Eid’l Adha

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared July 31, Friday a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice of the Muslim community.

Malacañang said Duterte made the declaration through Proclamation No. 985.

The date was chosen based on the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The president also reminded the public that the observance of the event shall be subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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