Lacson: 2019 budget will be passed ‘anytime soon’
MANILA, Philippines — Expect the passage of the 2019 national budget “anytime soon,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Tuesday.
On Monday, a three-man team from the Senate — Lacson, Senators Loren Legarda and Gringo Honasan – met with their counterparts from the House of Representatives to discuss the impasse on the budget.
The senators later met with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III to report the results of their meeting with the House contingent — Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
Asked if the Senate’s stand on the budget had changed after meeting with the Senate leader, Lacson, in a text message, said: “Let’s just say, the national budget will be passed anytime soon.”
The Senate has been firm in its position that the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) could no longer be amended since it was already ratified by both chambers of Congress on February 8.
But even after the ratification, Lacson claimed that the House had allegedly realigned multi-billion pesos worth of projects to certain favored congressmen.
Andaya, chair of the House committee on appropriations, countered Lacson’s allegation, saying they just ‘itemized” the lump sum items in the budget.
The two chambers have been locked in a standoff since then.
In a separate message to reporters, however, Sotto bared that several options were presented to him when he met with the Senate contingent Tuesday night.
“I’m studying the options proposed last night,” Sotto said but did not elaborate.
Andaya, in an interview at the Senate on Monday, expressed hope to pass the budget before March 29. /cbb
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