Duterte threatens to veto 2019 budget

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By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday threatened to veto the “entire” 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) if he finds it irregular.

Ang Budget kasa-submit lang (The Budget has just been submitted). I have to sign it pagbalik ko pa (once I return to [Manila]). Pinag-aaralan pa…. (It is still being reviewed),” Mr. Duterte said in his remarks at a campaign rally in Bacolod City on Thursday night.

The President spoke, for the second time, behind a bulletproof glass panel. He said someone wanted to “assassinate” him.

He added: “Ang legal ko magbasa uli (My legal team will review it again). Ngayon pagka talagang tagilid ‘yan (Now, if it is really skewed), I will outright veto the entire budget.”

The President noted that both chambers of Congress could not resolve their disagreements on the Budget bill. “Hindi magkasundo ang Congress pati ang Senado eh (The House and the Senate could not agree). Pati yung mga insertions diyan titignan ko (I will also look into the insertions). Kapag tagilid talaga (If it is really skewed), I will not hesitate to veto the entire budget,” he said.

In his speech, the President also said that the Presidential Security Group (PSG) has decided to use a bulletproof glass panel to protect him.

Kasi baka targetin ako doon sa malayo. Eh ako 74 years old, kung mamatay ako ngayon sa bala ng assassination, kaligaya ko na lang. Pagod na ako. Gusto ko na ring sumibat (Because, maybe, they will target me from afar. I am already 74 years old. If I get assassinated now, I will be happy. I am tired. I also want to leave),” he said.

The first time the President spoke behind a bulletproof glass panel was at a campaign rally in Malabon City on April 2.