Sotto sees passage of 2019 budget in January
MANILA, Philippines— With or without a special session, the 2019 national budget would not be approved within the year, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Wednesday.
“Even if we are called to a special session next week, we don’t have enough time for amendments and more so for a bicam,” Sotto said in a text message.
“At this point, it’s really January, with or without a special session,” he added.
The Senate leader was reacting to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s plan to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the calling of a special session so Congress could pass the budget by year-end.
The House of Representatives has already approved the budget, but it is still being deliberated on the Senate floor.
Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said the Senate could not approve the budget unless the President calls for a special session.
Congress will go on break this week and will resume sessions on January 14.
READ: Zubiri: ‘Quite impossible’ for Senate to pass 2019 budget
In a separate text message, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the decision whether or not to pass the budget this month is now up to the Senate.
“The consensus in the Senate, both majority and minority, is not to rush the budget,” Drilon said.
“The delay is the fault of the House,” he added.
While the President may call special session to tackle the budget, Drilon said the decision whether or not to pass it this month “is a call of the Senate.” /ee
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