Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of a Senate finance sub-committee, Tuesday said he would make ‘’adjustments’ on the House of Representatives-approved General Appropriations Bill (GAB) once it has been formally transmitted to the Senate.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco had said he has already submitted to the Senate the Lower House version of the national budget, adding that it is ‘’pork barrel’’ free.
Both Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon and Lacson had noted that there are less than P400 billion ‘’lump sum’’ appropriations in the proposed budget.
Anti-pork barrel advocates label ‘’lump sum’’ appropriations as ‘’pork barrel.’’
Once the Senate approves its version of the proposed 2021 P4.5 trillion national budget, both the Senate and the Lower House form their bicameral conference committee panels to iron out the differing provisions of their money bills.
Several senators had forecast a ‘’bloody’’ bicameral conference committee over the ‘’pork barrel’’ system.
In a statement, Lacson said that ‘’regardless of the constitutional issues involving the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 budget bill, it is still good that the Senate has enough time to approve our own version, leaving room for the bicameral conference and submission to the President for approval, thus avoiding a re-enacted budget.’’
Lacson said he submitted yesterday afternoon his ‘’Finance Sub-Committee C’’ report covering all the agencies assigned to him as Committee on Finance Vice Chairman, in compliance with the October 26 deadline set by the mother Committee.
‘’However, I based my report on the National Expenditure Program (NEP), with a caveat that necessary adjustments will be made once the GAB is transmitted by the House,’’ he said.
The GAB is based on Malacanang’s NEP.
‘’Now that the GAB is available as reported, once we get hold of our copy, I’ll make adjustments based on the House version of the budget bill,’’ he added.