QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The sudden suspension of the budget hearing in the Lower House of Congress for the proposed 2019 National Budget raised questions from Malacañang on the kind of relationship that the Executive branch has with the Legislative body.
This, despite having the Lower House’s “super-majority” or the large number of solons allied with the Duterte administration.
Though Malacañang stressed it is not blaming anyone, the Palace admitted it has yet to hear anything about the issue from House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Let’s just say with the budget being rejected by Congress, we don’t know what ties we have with the House now. We’d like to think that they continue to be important allies of the President, but apparently the change of leadership has also brought in a different kind of relationship,” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
For now, the Palace regards this as a simple misunderstanding. Still, it would let the Congress explain about the issue.
But Roque said President Duterte does not believe Congress will reject the proposed national budget.
“As of now, I think he’s giving the Congress the benefit of the doubt. He does not actually want to accept that for the first time, Congress does not want to enact on his budget,” the Spokesperson added.
Malacañang is also firm on the use of cash-based budgeting system for next year.
However, if Congress rejects the proposal, the government will be compelled to have a re-enacted budget for 2019.
Under the cash-based budgeting system, government agencies will only propose projects to be funded and implemented within the fiscal year.
The Congress has earlier expressed concerns that under this system, the “Build, Build, Build Program” of the Duterte administration will suffer, though the economic managers have said otherwise. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo