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Lacson: Budget impasse to end Wednesday or August

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:54 PM March 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines —  Senator Panfilo  Lacson disclosed that the 2019  national budget standoff  would end either this Wednesday or in August.

“Somebody told me, it will end today,” Lacson said in a text message.

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“That’s from the House. Somebody from the Senate told me, or in August. So, the impasse will end either today or August,” he added.

The  Senate and  the House  of Representatives have  been  locked in a standoff after the  latter  amended the 2019 General  Appropriations Bill (GAB) and transmitted it to the upper chamber for signature.

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But the Senate refused to sign the  amended GAB, calling the House’s  move unconstitutional since the measure was already ratified  by both  chambers last February 8.

Once ratified, an enrolled copy of the GAB signed  by the Senate  President and  the  Speaker of the House  will be transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature.

The government will continue to operate based on the 2018  budget unless  a new appropriation is signed  by the President.

Lacson also denied House Minority Leader  Danilo Suarez’s  claim the Senator Loren Legarda wanted to sign the GAB despite his and Senate President Vicente  Sotto III’s objection.

As chairperson of the committee on finance, Legarda headed the Senate contingent on the 2019 budget.

“What Senator Loren told us in the majority bloc is that Cong Suarez kept pestering her about the budget which she had ignored,” Lacson said.

He said the senators, both in the majority and minority, were “solidly behind” Sotto on the budget issue.

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In fact, he said, it was Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who advised Sotto and the Senate Secretary against signing the House version of the GAB as they could be prone to committing falsification of legislative documents.

“Has Cong Suarez, the House “company union” minority leader become so desperate for his share of the pork allocation that he now resorts to lying just to get his bounty?”  Lacson asked.

“Or, is it because the abolition of the MVUC (Motor Vehicle User’s Charge) Road Board will have immeasurable negative impact on some of the congressmen’s traditional source of largess?”

The measure abolishing the graft-ridden Road Board was recently signed into law by the President. / gsg

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TAGS: Congress, House, impasse, Lacson, National Budget, Senate
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