Duterte can veto supposed pork in 2019 budget – Palace

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Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte can use his veto power on the supposed ₱2.4-billion "pork" allocated for House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's district in Pampanga.

"If he (Duterte) feels that it's a violation of the Constitution, he will do it," Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a media briefing.

Panelo responded to Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson's remarks during Senate deliberations on the proposed ₱3.757-trillion 2019 national budget Wednesday. Lacson said "pork" was inserted in the proposal that was approved on final reading in the House of Representatives.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. has said that representatives received P60 million per district. Lacson said of this amount, ₱2.4 billion will fund farm-to-market roads in areas under Arroyo's district.

Malacañang said Arroyo should explain the budget realignments that gave her that amount.

"It behooves those who are involved in the re-alignment to respond to the protest of some elements of society," Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a media briefing Thursday.

He, however, did not clarify if these re-alignments are considered pork.

"What is important to me is whether those allocations are geared for the benefit of the constituents to where they are assigned," Panelo said.

He added there is no problem with the amount as long provinces which may need additional expenses will not be deprived.

"For as long those money is spent where they should be spent. But if those money are spent outside of the real purpose of them, then that is corruption, and we would not allow that," he said.

The Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that pork barrel was unconstitutional. These were through the Priority Development Assistance Fund, insertions after budget approval, and lump-sum appropriations.