By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
This was what Senate President Vicente Sotto III made of House appropriations committee chair and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr.’s statements on Monday denying that leadership of the House of Representatives had already agreed on recalling the itemized copy of the 2019 national budget.
Sotto assailed Andaya for claiming that the withdrawal of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) from the Senate required the concurrence of the members of House of Representatives in a plenary session.
“It appears he is not well-versed with parliamentary procedures. You do not need to approve in plenary sending of signed bills by the Speaker. Palusot (Excuses),” the Senate chief, who has been a lawmaker since1992, said in a text message to reporters Monday afternoon when asked to comment.
“Hundreds of bills were sent just recently together with the GAB. They were not in session. Anong plenary (What plenary was he talking about)?” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said that, according to San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, House leaders have agreed to heed the Senate’s appeal to recall the GAB they supposedly revised after the ratification in both houses of Congress.
Zamora was assigned by House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to negotiate with Senate amid the budget impasse. He was reported to have confirmed Lacson’s announcement.
But Andaya had questioned the move, saying he has not been consulted on the matter.
“No congressman has the authority, without plenary approval, to order the recall of the enrolled form of any bill already transmitted to the Senate,” Andaya said.
“I really do not know what they are talking about. As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I cannot undo an act authorized by the members of Congress. I am just one out of the 290. My powers come from them. A few senators cannot overturn an institutional act,” he added.