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Defensor urges senators to read 2020 budget bill first, don’t rumor-monger

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 10:43 AM September 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Friday urged senators to first read the bill for the proposed P4.1-trillion budget before peddling rumors about it.

Defensor said the House-version of the budget bill or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which the chamber passed last Friday, is currently being printed and will be transmitted to the Senate on Oct. 1.

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READ: House swiftly OKs P4.1-T nat’l budget for 2020 after only a month of debates

“We appeal to the honorable members of the Senate to read and scrutinize first the transmitted bill before passing judgment on the product of the congressmen’s hard work,” Defensor said in a statement.

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“Hindi po tama na makialam ang sinumang kasapi ng Senado sa trabaho ng mga kongresista habang dinidinig pa namin ang panukalang batas (It’s not right for any member of the Senate to meddle on the work of congressmen while the bill is still being deliberated on),” he added.

READ: P100M per congressmen in 2020 budget ‘won’t sit well’ with senators — Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier disputed claims by House leaders that the lower chamber passed the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget in “record time,” saying “they’re not done yet.”

He pointed out that even though the lower chamber of Congress passed the measure on third on final reading, it still had to undergo the period of amendments, which Lacson said, was “more tedious.”

READ: Lacson on House OK of 2020 budget: What ‘record time?’

Defensor also urged senators stop peddling rumors as it has “no place in legislative work.”

“Rumor-mongering has no place in legislative work. Hindi po puwedeng maging basehan ang mga tsismis sa pagsusuri ng batas (Rumors should not be a basis in scrutinizing a bill),” the party-list lawmaker said.

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“Peddling rumors are not the handiwork of esteemed senators,” he added.

Lacson earlier bared that the House planned to give all House deputy speakers an additional allocation of P1.5 billion each, while each member would get P700 million under the 2020 budget. He said the information came from several lawmakers.

READ: Lacson bares plan to give House deputies P1.5B each

He later said the plan was scrapped even before he mentioned it to media.

READ: Plan to give P1.5 billion to each House deputy scrapped – Lacson

For this reason, Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro asked Lacson to apologize to the House of Representatives for making statements on the proposed 2020 budget that allegedly damaged the institution’s reputation. He also asked the senator to reveal his sources.

However, the senator refused to apologize and reveal his sources.

READ: Lacson stands firm, spurns solon’s call for apology over ‘pork’ claims

READ: Lacson refuses to reveal sources on ‘pork’ insertion claims

Defensor pointed out that the House “worked double-time” in examining the 2020 GAB so that the Senate would have “ample time to scrutinize the fiscal program more thoroughly.”

He added that senators could raise their objections on the provisions of the bill when the bicameral conference committee convenes possibly in late November or early December.

“That is not only our traditional practice, but our constitutional duty to jointly reconcile differences in the bicameral conference level,” he said.

“We passed the 2020 GAB strictly following the Speaker’s policy of ‘No Pork, No Parking, No Delay.’ We expect our colleagues in the Senate to adhere to the same principles,” Defensor added.   /muf

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