President Rodrigo Duterte is just being “cautious in performing his constitutional duty making sure that before he inks his signature to the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2019, he does not violate our Constitution, as well as related jurisprudence on the matter.

Malacañang made the statement after President Duterte threatened to veto the whole 2019 national budget bill if he finds any legal or constitutional infirmity relative to the provisions of the enrolled copy transmitted by Congress.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, Duterte, a lawyer and strict enforcer of the rule of law, is taking seriously the accusations hurled by the House and the Senate against each other on certain unconstitutional insertions.

According to Panelo, “the Office of the President is exercising utmost care in the review and evaluation of the budget bill and is poring over the details of the document and checking which items therein may be constitutionally infirm or legally unacceptable pursuant to the President’s power and duty to ensure that the law is enforced and the Constitution is free from any violation.”

Panelo, meanwhile allayed concerns on the possible repercussion on the economy of a re-enacted budget, asserting that, “our economic managers have contingency plans prepared, responsive to any conceivable event, and they will correspondingly adjust their targets, which include the execution of programs and projects relating to infrastructure as well as the delivery of basic services to the people.”

“While we are very eager and devoted to implement policies that will benefit Filipinos, this Administration is equally committed to being a stickler for the rule of law,” Panelo said.