Lagman says House version of budget ‘completely constitutional, legal’
MANILA, Philippines — Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman defended Wednesday the House version of the 2019 national budget, saying it is “completely constitutional and legal” contrary to the claims of some senators.
In a statement, the leader of the “Magnificent 7” opposition bloc in the lower chamber also attested that the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) the House transmitted to Senate on March 11, was “entirely compliant” with the ratified bicameral conference committee report.” He was a member of the said Senate-House contingent on the budget bill.
“As a former chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, I know that traditionally and invariably what the bicameral conference committee approves are the respective expenditure ceilings of the departments and agencies, but the Senate and the House are authorized separately to complete the details within the ceilings,” the opposition district lawmaker said.
“The House version did not breach the ceilings,” he added.
Lagman also pointed out that the decision of the House leadership to “withdraw” the House version of the expenditure plan was to “show good faith for the holding of immediate meaningful and sober dialogues to finally resolve the impasse,” and “spare the economy and the people of the detrimental and adverse effects of a prolonged reenacted budget.”
In a separate statement, Majority Leader Fredenil Castro said he has “high hopes” that Lagman’s support would “convince” the Senate that the position of the House has been “standing on high constitutional and legal grounds.”
Earlier, House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. bared that they were “physically retrieving” the GAB from the Senate, quickly pointing out that this did not mean “withdrawing or backtracking” from their earlier position. /jpv
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