Sotto to House: Recall modified budget bill, then we can talk
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the Senate will only engage in a dialogue with the House of Representatives if the lower chamber recalls its modified budget bill.
“Recall what they sent then we can talk,” Sotto said in a Viber message to reporters on Thursday.
The passage of the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 General Appropriations Bill still faced delays as Senate has yet to approve the budget bill that the House transmitted.
The Senate President earlier said the Senate was open to convene a special session to break the budget impasse.
Sotto also maintained that the House should recall the modified budget bill, restore it to its original version, and allow President Rodrigo Duterte to use his veto power over the lump-sum appropriations.
House appropriations panel chair Rolando Andaya Jr. said they “welcome any effort to break the 2019 budget impasse,” but they will maintain their position that the budget was itemized after it was ratified in the plenary.
He said they are open to hold a dialogue with the Senate about the 2019 budget, but the Senate wants to restore a budget that is “unfair and lopsided.”
“While we aim for equitable distribution among districts, the Senate obviously wants to restore a budget that is unfair and lopsided,” the Camarines Sur congressman said.
However, Sotto remained firm that the Senate wanted to return to the ratified budget, which was approved by both chambers during the plenary session.
“We never said to return to the old mode. We said [we want to] return to what we approved and ratified in plenary,” Sotto clarified. /ee
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