MANILA -- Malacañang on Monday said the request of House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations chair Rolando Andaya Jr. for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to submit a report on the remaining balance of the 2018 national budget is not a “prerequisite.”

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea made this reaction after Andaya insisted that the DBM needs to release the savings report in order to pass the PHP3.757-trillion budget for 2019.

“I don't think (the) reporting of 2018 savings is a prerequisite,” Medialdea said in a text message.

Medialdea said that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said that he will simply wait for the enrolled copy of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) 2019.

“(The) ball is in the hands of the legislators. The last time I talked with Sec. Diokno, he said he will just wait for the enrolled copy of the budget bill,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, for his part, said he will leave it to Diokno to issue a statement on the matter.

Panelo, however, expressed confidence anew that the 2019 national budget will be passed even with only three days left before Congress goes on recess in time for the campaign season.

“There’s still three days left, let’s just wait. We’re still confident that it will be passed,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“We eagerly await the passage of the General Appropriations Bill. They know it will bring adverse consequences if we have a reenacted budget,” he added.

Panelo further said that if Congress should fail to pass the 2019 budget before recess, it may still be passed when sessions resume on May 20 after the mid-term elections.

“Hopefully when Congress resumes meeting again, they will have to pass. Hope springs eternal. We’ll hope for the best,” Panelo said.

Earlier, Panelo said the Palace expected “smooth-sailing” bicameral conference committee deliberations, but the ongoing impasse over alleged "insertions" in the 2019 national budget continues to stall its passage. (PNA)