Duterte likely to sign 2020 budget by first week of January 2020 – Palace

Robie de Guzman
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019. Witnessing the signing is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign the 2020 national budget in the first week of January, the Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president is still scrutinizing the budget proposal to ensure that the spending bill does not contain any unconstitutional items.

The Palace official also assured that the chief executive will thoroughly study the budget bill before affixing his signature following Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that the House of Representatives made some realignment before the 2020 budget was signed by the Congressional bicameral conference committee.  

READ: Lacson says proposed 2020 budget still tainted with pork barrel

“When somebody says it’s unconstitutional, it doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional. This president is a lawyer, he knows what is unconstitutional or not, so he decides for himself,” Panelo told reporters.

Duterte earlier signed into law a measure extending the validity of the 2019 national budget until December 31, 2020.

READ: Duterte signs extension of validity of 2019 budget to December next year

The measure will allow government agencies to spend this year’s fund, particularly for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until the end of next year.

This aims to address the government’s need for budget after the delay in the passage of the 2019 National Budget and the implementation of the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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