Diokno to Congress: Pass budget or Palace will call special session
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass the proposed P3.8-trillion national budget for 2019 as soon as possible or Malacañang would call a special session of Congress to enact the spending bill, cutting their campaign time for the midterm elections in May.
The President has authority to call Congress to a special session, and the lawmakers are bound by law to answer the call to legislative business.
The 17th Congress closes on Feb. 8, and the campaign for the midterms begins, with legislators whose seats are at stake in the elections fanning out across the country to try to win another term.
If they fail to pass the already delayed 2019 budget by Feb. 8, Diokno told reporters on Wednesday, “we’ll call them to a special session again and again.”
Get it done
That would hurt their campaign so Diokno said he was confident the budget would clear Congress by Feb. 8.
“They must be thinking, ‘Let’s get this done so we can hit the campaign trail,’” he said.
The spending bill failed to hurdle Congress in December last year because of a controversy over pork.
The government is operating on the 2018 reenacted budget, which also amounted to about P3.8 trillion. —Ben O. De Vera
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