Sotto slams House anew over budget adjustments: ‘Palusot lang ‘yan’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday slammed the lower chamber anew following House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr.’s claims that the realignments in the national budget were authorized.
In a letter sent to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Acting Secretary Janet Abuel of the Department of Budget and Management on March 28, Andaya said a traditional Omnibus Motion was included in the bicameral committee report on budget, which allows the correction of “typographical, grammatical and printing errors, as well as the necessary adjustments as a consequence of the amendments.”
Sotto, however, argued that the omnibus motion applies “to them, not the entire Congress” and that the motion is only being used as an excuse for the realignments made on the budget.
“Palusot lahat yan (It’s merely an excuse). Bottom line is they touched something they shouldn’t have after ratification,” Sotto said in a statement.
“What they did affected their colleagues, that’s why they complained to us, aside from the fact that LBRMO (Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office) saw a red flag,” the Senate President added.
Sotto said that “their talks are now water under the bridge” and the decision regarding the national budget is now in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The senator also underscored the Senate’s scrutiny of the adjustments, which he said served as proof of their independence.
“At the end of the day the Senate exercised its power to scrutinize and challenge what is spurious in the budget,” Sotto said.
“It also proves that the Senate is still and will remain independent,” he added.
Sotto earlier signed the proposed P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 with “strong reservations.” He expressed hopes that Duterte will veto the alleged P75 billion insertions made by the Lower Chamber following the ratification of the budget on February 8. /ee
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