House, Senate observe ‘ceasefire’ on 2020 budget
Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives have agreed to a “ceasefire” on their altercation about alleged pork barrel insertions in the proposed 2020 budget, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
“We agreed to have a ceasefire because individual members of the Senate and the House (of Representatives) who criticize one another do not represent the institution,” said Zubiri, who met House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Wednesday evening.
“I’m hoping cooler heads will prevail and no further comment would be made on this particular issue,” he added of the ceasefire widely seen as a bid among Congress leaders to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay in the budget’s approval.
The House passed the 2020 budget bill on Sept. 20 after the President certified it as urgent and did away with the three-day rule.
The House also formed a committee that would accept amendments to the proposed P4.1-trillion budget after the third reading approval, a process objected to by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and one that Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon found “totally anomalous.”
“No matter what they call it, it’s still pork and part of the patronage system so Congress would be pliant to the whims of Malacañang,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate.—WITH A REPORT FROM MELVIN GASCON
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