Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday called members of the majority bloc to a caucus, calling on the lawmakers to set aside politics and focus on the passing of the 2021 national budget proposal during the four-day special sessions that will start Monday, Oct. 12.
Cayetano appeared on a Facebook Live video before attending the caucus where he was expected to discuss the controversy surrounding the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act.
There were no reports on who among the lawmakers were in attendance or if allies of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Cayetano’s speakership rival, were invited.
However, Cayetano hinted that those in the zoom session are his allies.
“At least yung grupo namin, ano, I can assure you mga kababayan that we will be focusing on the budget,” he said.
The House leader appealed to everybody to focus on the budget passage and set aside politics.
He also assured President Duterte that he “respects his wisdom” in calling for a four-day special session to ensure that the P4.506 trillion proposed 2021 budget is passed in time and a re-enactment of the current budget is avoided.
It took Duterte’s proclamation to force the congressmen to return to work starting Monday after Cayetano’s motion for the suspension of session starting October 6 was approved.
While the Velasco camp aired serious doubts there was a majority approval of Cayetano’s motion, the latter could no longer do anything to push for the resumption of sessions.
Under the legislative calendar, Congress was supposed to adjourn on October 16 and resume regular session on November 16.
Cayetano welcomed Duterte’s decision to undo what he and his allies did when the president issued a proclamation calling for the resumption of sessions.
Duterte also certified the budget bill as an urgent administration measure.
“But I just want to assure the public, hinihimay namin nang husto ang bawat isang programa- ang bawat sektor, ang bawat lugar kasi iba pangangailangan ng bata ngayon na nasa ibang klaseng learning environment. (We are closely examining each program, each sector and each place because the current needs of children are different in a different learning environment),” said Cayetano
He disclosed that they will work on the budget measure during the weekend in order to guarantee that the “special session will be very fruitful.”