Sotto decides to ignore Andaya’s rants on budget insertions

Published April 8, 2019, 8:49 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has decided to ignore Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr. as well as rest his case on the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) controversy after a congressman spoke up on the alleged post-bicam realignments by the House of Representatives.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III

Sotto on Monday said the “real” sentiments of “other congressmen” prove his and the Senate’s call for President Duterte’s veto of the realignments made by the House after the GAB was ratified by both chambers of Congress.

He cited a newspaper report Sunday quoting an unnamed congressman about the supposed reallocation by House leaders of infrastructure and health funds to select congressional districts.

“[The report] finally exposes the real sentiment of other congressmen. I’ll shut up na,” the Senate chief told reporters in a text message, agreeing that it justified his stand.

Sotto has also finally decided to ignore Andaya, who has been insisting on his demand for senators to publicize their own amendments to the GAB despite the Senate chief’s explanation that their realignments were all manifested in plenary and are made available to the public through their journals.

“Those are desperate attempts to muddle the issue. Listen to what other congressmen are saying…Do not be misled,” he said in a text message.

Aside from the Senate’s discovery of the supposed House realignments, Sotto had earlier bared that some congressmen sought him and Senator Panfilo Lacson to complain that their constituencies were affected by their leaders’ manipulation of the 2019 budget.

He had named Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Aurora Cerilles as among the aggrieved House members.

Camarines Sur. Rep. Elray Villafuerte had also claimed that the House leadership distributed to its allies P92.3 billion in infrastructure funds.

Earlier, Sotto asked President Duterte to veto the P75-billion “unconstitutional” House realignments in the 2019 budget. The GAB is awaiting President Duterte’s signature.