Sotto backs Duterte veto of ‘pork’ insertions
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Wednesday backed Senator Panfilo Lacson’s bid to make the 2019 national budget free of “pork.”
Lacson earlier urged President Rodrigo Duterte to use his veto power against the alleged “pork” insertions in the budget.
Asked about Lacson’s appeal to the President, Sotto said: “Kung nararapat, at kung talagang maliwanag na pork, bakit hindi? Dapat i-veto.”
But why is Congress then passing the “pork” issue to the President?
“Hindi ganun, at this point, hindi namin talaga alam kung alin ang pork at hindi,” the Senate leader said, responding to the question.
“Alam lang namin sa Senate, ano yung mga institutional amendments,” he added.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, was scheduled to meet this Wednesday with her counterpart, House appropriations committee chair, Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, to discuss the budget.
Sotto said Legarda will report to the Senate the results of her meeting with Andaya in a caucus before the session.
“Kaya magkakaroon din ng caucus is that’s another reason o brief the bicam members and also the members of the Senate kung ano ang napapagkasunduan pa lang. Hindi pa naman yan written in stone,” he said.
The Senate and the House of Representatives have been locked in a standoff over the alleged “pork” insertions.
Legarda however remains confident that the budget would be approved by Friday.
While Congress usually adjourns its session on Wednesday, Sotto said they may extend it until Friday specially if there are important measures that need to be discussed.
“Pero ang importante, dahil pinakikiusap ng Malacanang ang budget, baka nga mag extend kami until Friday,” he said. /muf
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