‘The nerve!’ Sotto hits back at Cayetano for ‘passing blame’ on budget delay
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday blasted House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for having “the nerve” to pass the blame to the Senate should the passage of the 2021 national budget be delayed.
“The nerve! Passing the blame, it’s unacceptable!” Sotto said in a message to reporters when sought for comment on Cayetano’s recent remarks.
“They should pass it on third reading and submit to us before the original agreed date of the break (on) Oct 17 which is the legislative calendar agreed by both Houses. Oct 17 is a month away from Nov 17!” he said in a separate message.
This after Cayetano’s remarks that a possible delay in the budget’s passage will no longer be the fault of the House but of the Senate’s.
“One day lang po ang diperensya and I hope that maging malinaw ito because kung magkakaroon po ng delay o reenactment, it will be because of the Senate not because of the House, because we are only talking about only one day,” Cayetano said in a Facebook live on Wednesday.
Earlier, senators warned of a re-enacted budget for 2021 after Cayetano and his allies moved to abruptly suspend the House’s session before the lower chamber can submit its approved spending bill to the Senate.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also stressed that the Senate is scheduled to receive the approved General Appropriation Bill (GAB) approved by the House between October 12 to 14 before the scheduled break on October 17.
But with the abrupt suspension of the lower chamber’s session, the spending bill will only be submitted to the Senate on November 17.
“[That] is definitely not [a] one day difference,” Lacson said in a separate message.
He said he suggested to Cayetano the possibility of resuming the House’s session, since it was only suspended and not adjourned, before All Saints’ Day to approve the GAB on third reading and transmit it to the upper chamber.
“I also told him the senators, especially the finance committee vice chairpersons need at least one week to study their version and submit to the mother committee our reports and another week for the finance committee to consolidate everything and file their committee report. In doing so, we can start floor debates immediately after we resume the session on Nov 16, or even before that,” Lacson explained.
“That way, we can ensure timely passage of the budget measure,” he added.
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