Sotto: Drop realignments or no new budget
MANILA, Philippines – Remove the internal realignments or the government will operate under a reenacted budget until July.
This will be the senators’ position when they meet with President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday night, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
READ: Senators to meet Duterte amid budget row
“Tingin ko after tonight, mas malinaw na kung ano ang mangyayari, which is either they remove the internal realignments after the ratification or we have a reenacted budget until July,” Sotto said in a phone patch interview on Tuesday.
Sotto quickly clarified that it was not an ultimatum but just a proposal, which the House of Representatives may or may not accept.
“(I don’t want) to use the word ultimatum,” Sotto said.
“You were asking me what our position will be, that will be our position when we face the President later.”
“So it’s up to them. It’s up to them to accept or not to accept our proposal. I’ll leave it also to the President to whether or not accept their explanation,” he added.
House of Representatives leaders will also reportedly attend the meeting with the President.
The Senate and the House have locked horns over the alleged realignments made even after the ratification of the 2019 national budget last February 8.
Sotto insisted that any amendments after the ratification by both the Senate and the House would violate the Constitution and the Revised Penal Code.
“Our stand is we send to the President what we ratified. Yun ang stand namin,” he said, adding that it was the “only legal way” to break the impasse.
“Kung meron silang realignment na pinag usapan nila, dapat ginawa nila yung bago nila i-ratify . Bakit ang bilis-bilis nilang nag-ratify pagkatapos e magtatagal sila sa pag print at pag enrol?” Sotto asked.
After ratification, the Senate and the House will sign a printed copy of the budget bill for submission to the President.
Because of the alleged “pork” realignments, Congress has yet to transmit the budget bill to Duterte for signature. / gsg
READ: Andaya on 2019 national budget: House’s mission accomplished
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