Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel backed President Duterte’s call to resume plenary deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget via special sessions next week.
“I fully support the move of the President to call a special session,” Pimentel told the Manila Bulletin minutes after Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement.
“With this development, I am confident we can pass the 2021 budget on third reading on October 16 and thereby meet the schedule of the signing of the President of the budget by December,” said the Mindanaoan.
Pimentel serves as spokesman for the ruling Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in the 299-strong House of Representatives and is among the senior officials of the party. There are 65 PDP-Laban stalwarts in the Lower House.
Pimentel is a party-mate of Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, rival of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in the current 18th Congress. However, he has been conspicuously mum on the unfolding war between the two solons and their respective camps.
The Surigao del Norte lawmaker was among the 202 House members who signed a manifesto of support for Cayetano last month. On September 30, when Cayetano offered to resign as Speaker, Pimentel was reportedly one of the 184 solons who rejected it.
It was last Tuesday when House Bill No.7727 or the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021 was passed on second reading following the abrupt termination of the plenary debates. The sessions were then suspended until November 16.
Roque said that Duterte wants the special sessions conducted from October 13 to 16. This means that there will be a plenary session on the 14th – the supposed turnover date for the Speakership between Cayetano and Velasco.