Lacson: Budget impasse to end Wednesday or August
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.
“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.
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.
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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