Lacson urges House leaders to pursue ‘sensible dialogue’ with Senate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson has urged leaders of the House of Representatives to pursue a “sensible dialogue” with the Senate instead of engaging in personal attacks.
“Instead of engaging in obfuscation and personal attacks on us by their designated talking heads, the House leaders should instead pursue a sensible dialogue with the Senate leadership,” Lacson said in a statement on Friday.
Lacson emphasized the “difference between itemization and realignments of what have been approved by the joint bicameral conference committee and ratified in plenary by both houses of Congress.”
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Thursday that the Senate would only engage in a dialogue with the lower chamber if it recalls its modified budget bill.
Sotto earlier said the House should restore the modified budget bill to its original version, and allow President Rodrigo Duterte to use his veto power over the lump-sum appropriations.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan echoed Sotto’s statement on Friday.
“We join the position of Senate President Vicente Sotto against signing the 2019 budget, which has been tampered by the House leadership,” he said.
Pangilinan also took a swipe at attempts in squeezing kickbacks from the budget.
“Kung dati ay kickback mula sa mga proyekto ang habol, ngayon, hindi pa aprubado ang budget, may mga gusto nang mag-advance ng commission sa pamamagitan ng ‘parking’ ng mga proyekto sa iba’t ibang distrito,” Pangilinan said.
(In the past, they were after the kickbacks from projects, but now, the budget is not even approved yet, but they already want to advance the commission by parking projects in different districts.)
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.
Meanwhile, 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. /ee