Arroyo: House can’t agree to lump sums in 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives cannot agree to the passage of the 2019 national budget with “unconstitutional” lump-sum appropriations, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo maintained on Monday.
The Pampanga 2nd district congresswoman also insisted that the itemization they did after both chambers of Congress ratified the budget bill was constitutional and followed the same process done in previous Congresses.
“It’s the same process that was done even before I was Speaker ever since the Supreme Court ruled that lump sums are unconstitutional. We cannot agree to a lump sum,” the House leader told reporters in an ambush interview.
On Feb. 8, 2019, the House of Representatives ratified the proposed budget that had lump sums, which Arroyo now describes as “unconstitutional.” It was unclear, however, why they ratified the spending bill which had lump sum appropriations.
Asked why they did not itemize the lump sum funds before Congress ratified the expenditure plan, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta earlier said: “Marami nga kami.”
“How can you compare 293 representatives against 23 [senators]? You tell me. It’s something they should understand also,” he added.
The House later “modified” the ratified budget saying congressmen wanted it “itemized” while denying it was “manipulation.”
“The budget, actually we left it to (San Juan City Rep.) Ronnie Zamora to negotiate with the Senate. But what we can say is that the process that we followed was constitutional. We would never put the President in a position of signing an unconstitutional bill,” she added.
The passage of the proposed P3.8 trillion 2019 General Appropriations Bill remains in limbo as Senate has yet to approve the budget bill that the House transmitted.
Senators have been pushing to retain the ratified version of the spending bill with lump-sum appropriations, while the House contingent wants the budget that they itemized after it was ratified by both chambers. /cbb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.