By Mario Casayuran
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson advised Friday the leadership of the House of Representatives to pursue a sensible dialogue with Senate leaders to break the impasse on the stalled submission to Malacanang of the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion General Appropriations (GAA or national budget).
‘’Otherwise, we will have no choice but deal with the next House leadership come July,’’ Lacson said as the national government continues to operate under a re-enacted 2018 national budget.
The dialogue would take the place of the House style of obfuscation and personal attacks on leaders of the Upper House, he added.
‘’They are confusing the public. There is a whale of a difference between itemization and realignments of what have been approved by the joint bicameral conference committee and ratified in plenary by both houses of Congress,’’ he pointed out.
President Duterte, sensing resistance from the House members during a Senate-Lower House meeting at Malacanang meant to resolve their differences on the unconstitutional pork barrel system, ‘’told the group to just resolve the issues involved among ourselves,’’ Lacson said.
Senators had strongly suggested to the House leaders that to resolve the impasse, the House panel should instead simply transmit to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III the unedited copy of the House-ratified bicameral conference committee on the national budget.
Sotto warned that he would not sign the House version of the ratified national budget committee report if it is constitutionally infirm,
Several congressmen had complained to Lacson that some House leaders had tried, among others, to revise the ‘’pork barrel’’ allocations for House members by delisting congressmen who do not support Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
What was obvious during that meeting was that this suggestion didn’t sit well with the congressmen because they cannot be sure if all their realignments would be adopted, Lacson pointed out.
‘’It’s all about their pork, not mindful if they will be derailing the flagship projects of the government,’’ he added.