Senate eyes emergency caucus on budget

Senate eyes emergency caucus on budget

Senate may partake on an emergency caucus if the bicameral conference committee report on the 2019 budget bill is proven to have been altered by the House of Representatives.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III stated his awareness of supposed actions of House leaders and members to manipulate the 2019 budget report.

“I will not sign anything that we did not approve,” Sotto replied.

He was consulting with Senators Loren Legarda and Panfilo Lacson to determine the next steps if the House version of the ratified budget measure would come out unlike the copy of the bicameral conference committee (bicam). Said report was endorsed by the Senate and House in February.

Legarda, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said if the bicam report was undeniably altered, she would instantly ask the Senate president to call an urgent caucus so that they could agree.

“But of course, it’s a foregone conclusion that we will not allow any changes to the bicameral reports,” added Legarda.

The national government has been functioning on a reenacted budget because of the non-transmittal to Malacañang of the ratified bicameral report on the 2019 national budget.

House Appropriations Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. on Wednesday, however, maintained that there was nothing illegal in detailing the items in the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

Andaya shrugged off the Senate’s demand for a caucus. Andaya led the House contingent to the budget bicam,

“Whatever we did, that’s what they did for sure. They are only 24, but there are around 300 House members. So, it’s harder for us to identify projects. That’s the only difference. But in the parameters of the bicam…there is no difference,” Andaya concluded.

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