Duterte should make ‘clear’ stand on House speakership row – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should now make clear his position on the intensifying speakership feud in the House of Representatives that has effectively affected the timely passage of the 2021 national budget, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters in an online interview, Lacson pointed out that a “clear signal” from the President could diffuse the squabble in the lower legislative body.
“I don’t think it’s anomalous for the President to make his position clear kung sino ba talaga ang dapat umupong Speaker. Whether it’s Speaker [Alan Peter] Cayetano or Congressman Lord Allan Velasco. Basta klaro lang para naiiwasan sana ‘yung ganitong gulo. Nadadamay ‘yung budget. Sayang,” the senator said.
“Kung mas klaro ‘yung signal mas mare-resolve ‘tong issue kasi kung hindi clear ‘yung ibinigay na position ng Malacañang, especially the President, because, after all, he is the leader of the party,” he added, referring to the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has repeatedly said that Duterte will respect the decision of lawmakers on the speakership row, saying it is an “internal” matter of the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, Cayetano and his allies moved to abruptly suspend the session until November 16 after the unexpected second reading approval of House Bill No. 7727 or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which contains the proposed national budget for 2021.
This unraveled ahead of the anticipated speakership showdown between Cayetano and Velasco on October 14.
With the lower chamber suspending its session until November 16 and the spending bill only approved on second reading, the budget measure will not reach the Senate before it goes on a break on October 17.
This worried several senators who feared a delayed passage of the country’s budget for next year.
“It doesn’t serve the interest of the national budget,” Lacson said of the sudden suspension of the House’s session.
The House was supposed to have approved the bill on second reading this Friday, Oct. 9, and was originally set to approve it on final reading on Oct. 14.
“We’ve effectively lost one month because of the delay of the sudden suspension na ginawa ng (did by the) House without transmitting it (budget bill) to the Senate,” Lacson continued.
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