Senate President Vicente Sotto III castigated leaders of the House of Representatives for using their chamber as a scapegoat for the delay in the approval of proposed 2021 national budget amid their speakership row.
Sotto branded as a “palusot” (excuse) statements from the House that the Senate can pass the P4.506-trillion government spending plan in November.
Congressmen cited the supposed approval of spending bills under the previous administration within a few days.
“Isa lang ang sagot sa mga sinasabi na ‘yan na incomplete dahil ang days na binibilang nila, not from receiving the GAB: ‘Palusot’ (I have only one thing to say for such statements, which are incomplete anyway because they did not count the days from when the Senate received the General Appropriations Bill: Excuse),” the Senate chief told reporters in a message when asked to comment.
“Ang tanong, bakit nyo kami dinadamay sa problema niyo (The question is, why are you dragging us into your problem)?”
The House of Representatives, on Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s motion, suddenly terminated on Tuesday discussions on the 2021 GAB and approved it on second reading sans their amendments. Consequently, it suspended its session until Nov. 16.
Senators, however, said the abrupt suspension ahead of their scheduled recess would delay their plenary deliberation of the national budget and could result in a reenacted budget next year.
Since the House initially vowed to pass the budget on third reading by Oct. 14, they expected that the GAB will be transmitted to the Senate within the month and that they would have enough time to study its provisions in time for the resumption of sessions.
According to Sotto, Cayetano committed that the House will transmit the budget bill on Nov. 17. The House Speaker told him that they will print the final version of the bill before their third reading approval.
But Sotto said the Senate, moreso the national budget, should not have been affected by the in-fighting in the House.
“Ang collateral damage, ang taong bayan. Political warfare, sila na lang ‘yon. Sila-sila na lang ‘yon, huwag nila kaming idamay. Puro pulitika, gusto ba ng taong bayan ‘yon?” Sotto said in a separate interview with Teleradyo.
(Our countrymen is the collateral damage. They should keep their political warfare to themselves, they should not drag us. They’re all politics, do our people want that?)
Sotto maintained that the Senate should not be blamed for the delay caused by their counterpart amid their feud of over the leadership.