Senator Pia Cayetano on Friday urged her colleagues in the Senate not to raise the possibility of having a reenacted 2021 national budget.
“There’s no reenacted budget that will happen—huwag na sanang i-discuss ‘yang reenacted budget na ‘yan kasi hindi yan mangyayari (I hope we stop discussing a reenacted budget because that will not happen),” an exasperated Cayetano said during the Senate’s hearing on the budget of the Department of Health (DOH).
Cayetano made the remark after Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go asked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the possible impact on the government’s COVID-19 response should there be a reenacted budget for next year.
However, Cayetano, who chairs the Senate finance subcommittee, rebutted Go’s assumption saying that her brother, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, has assured Senate President Vicente Sotto III that the budget would be passed on time.
“You know this talk on reenacted budget does not help any of us. It just fuels the fire in this political charade…I am privy to the fact that the Speaker of the House has committed that there would be no reenacted budget. And he has relayed this to the Senate President,” Cayetano said.
“So I hope that our media friends who are listening, and even our colleagues, would take cognizance of that. Because we are going through this knowing that we would push through with the budget. I think our leaders are responsible enough to know, and we don’t even have to be reminded that no one here wants a reenacted budget,” she reiterated.
Cayetano also pointed out that the Senate has been conducting hearings while the counterpart in the Lower House is also conducting their own budget hearings.
“So we are on target, we are doing that,” Cayetano insisted.
The House Speaker and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco—both allies of the President—are embroiled in a leadership struggle.
The House suspended its session last Tuesday after Cayetano refused to step down and honor their term-sharing agreement.
Duterte, however, has called on Congress to conduct a special session on Oct. 13 to 16 to ensure the passage of the proposed 2021 budget before the end of the year.