Sotto, Drilon reject 1-PACMAN solon’s accusations on 2019 budget delay
MANILA, Philippines — It was the House of Representatives, not the Senate, that caused the delay in passing the 2019 national budget contrary to what 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero claimed.
This was the quick retort of Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to Romero, who has put the blame on the Senate for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games’ budget delay, which has supposedly caused the organizers to “catch up” with preparations.
“Nope we did not. The HOR did. They changed leadership then submitted to us the GAB [General Appropriations Bill] on Nov. 24, which is 55 days late of the usual, then amended the approved Bicam version around Feb. of this year which the Senate and the President did not allow. He must have his facts mixed up,” Sotto said Monday.
Drilon, on the other hand, slammed Romero’s accusations as an “insult” to the leadership of the Senate and said the party-list congressman’s claims were “misplaced” and “baseless.”
“This is an insult to the leadership of the Senate. His accusations are misplaced and baseless, to say the least,” Drilon said in a statement also on Monday.
“The delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget was caused by unconstitutional insertions blatantly made by the House of Representatives in the budget to the tune of P95.3 billion worth of pork barrel funds,” he added.
Romero earlier said the Senate, particularly Drilon, is “partly to blame” for the delay in the budget of the SEA Games.
“Kung pinayagan po nating makalusot itong P95.3 billion pork barrel, kaya nitong punuin ‘yung P50-million kaldero sa [Southeast Asian] SEA Games,” Drilon said.
(If we allowed the P95.3 billion pork barrel to get through the budget, this can fill up the P50-million cauldron for the SEA Games.)
“To refresh Mr. Romero’s memory, had it not been for the solution or compromise that I proposed, which enabled Senate President Vicente Sotto to sign and send the 2019 budget to Malacañang, we would not have resolved the 2019 budget impasse and we would have continued on a reenacted budget,” Drilon said.
“Had it not been for my efforts, certain quarters in the administration would have pushed through with recommending to the President the veto of the entire 2019 budget,” he added.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed P93.5-billion worth of appropriations to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects when he signed the 2019 national budget in April.
Edited by KGA
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