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Legarda cold on reconvening bicam to legitimize ‘pork’ — Lacson

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:09 PM March 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Loren Legarda was not keen on returning to the bicameral conference committee if only to “legitimize” the alleged “pork” realignments in the 2019 national budget.

Senator Panfilo Lacson shared Legarda’s sentiment as the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to break the deadlock on the budget.

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“Hardline kami na basta violation of the Constitution, we will not do it. Unless the House suggests something na hindi bordering on a constitutional violation, then probably we can sit down again,” Lacson said in an interview at the Senate on Wednesday.

(We have a hardline stance that we will not support anything that violates the Constitution. Unless the House suggests that it’s not bordering on a constitutional violation, then we can sit down again.)

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“Sabi nga ni Senator Loren, kung magre-reconvene tayo, ayoko na. Hindi matatapos yan kasi ipipilit din nila e, and in effect sabi ni Senator Loren, and I believe her, ile-legitimize natin yung alam nating katakot-takot na pork nila by reconvening the bicameral conference and then tanggapin natin lahat para lang maging constitutional because its within the bicam?”

(Senator Loren said she does not want us to reconvene. It’s not going to end anyway because they will insist on it — and I believe her — we are going to legitimize their “pork” by reconvening the bicameral conference and we are going to make it legitimate because it is in the bicam.)

As chair of the Senate committee on finance, Legarda heads the Senate contingent to the bicameral conference committee that approved the 2019 national budget. The Senate and the House later ratified the bicam report.

READ: Senate ratifies P3.757-T national budget for 2019

READ: After months of delay, Congress finally ratifies 2019 budget

But Lacson claimed the House realigned P95 billion in the ratified budget bill, which he said was a clear violation of the Constitution.

Both Lacson and Legarda were there when the Senate and the House leadership met with President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday night to discuss the budget.

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During the meeting, Lacson proposed that the House recall its modified version of the budget bill and stick to the ratified measure.

He said the Senate is firm that it will not sign the modified version of the House as it would violate the Constitution.

“So stalemate na naman kasi kung ipipilit ng mga congressmen or ng House na yung printed copy nila e yun ang enrolled bill, e hindi makakarating ng Malacañang yun,” Lacson said.

(So it’s a stalemate because if the congressmen or the House insist that their printed copy will be the enrolled bill, it will never reach Malacañang.)

Lacson said Legarda also repeatedly denied Andaya’s allegations that the Senate also made its own realignments in the budget.

Asked about the Senate’s supposed list of realignments that Andaya earlier presented to the media, Lacson said it was just probably an attendance sheet in the bicam meetings.

He explained that the Senate gave the House a copy of “itemized amendments” which were already part of the ratified budget bill.

The Senate insisted they had no “lump sum” items in the budget, contrary to some congressmen’s allegations. /ee

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TAGS: 2019 budget, Bicam, Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Philippine News, ‎pork barrel
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