BOTH Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Speaker-in-waiting Lord Allan Velasco welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for special session of the House of Representatives.
Cayetano and Velasco issued separate statements on setting aside political turmoil, brought about by the Speakership issue, in compliance with the President’s order.
As ordered by President Duterte, the House will hold a special session from October 13 to 16 to finish the discussion of the proposed national budget of P4.5 trillion.
Cayetano said President Duterte is giving Congress the chance to resume deliberations on the proposed 2021 National Budget “free from the specter of politicking and intrigues.”
“As we commit our nation and the People’s 2021 Budget to THE ALMIGHTY, we welcome President Duterte’s call for a Special Session of Congress on October 13 to 16,” Cayetano said in a statement minutes after Duterte issued Proclamation No. 1027 calling Congress to a special session.
“We trust his wisdom on how to address issues concerning the budget, and thank him for his continued confidence by allowing Congress to pass the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) free from the specter of politicking and intrigues that we had originally sought to avoid,” Cayetano added.
Duterte has issued a proclamation “to avoid any further delays in the prompt passage” of the GAB.
The proclamation was issued a day after the President told members of Congress to resolve the issues that have been threatening to delay the budget.
Cayetano said between now and October 13, Congress will “continue to work and prepare for the swift passage of this measure, and to ensure that it will be responsive and relevant to the government’s overall recovery efforts for 2021.”
For his part, Velasco said “this is what majority of us in the House of Representatives have been telling Speaker Cayetano and his small group of loyalists.”
Velasco slammed the unceremonious termination of the budget plenary debates and the highly questionable and unconstitutional suspension of session.
“President Duterte’s marching orders to Speaker Cayetano is clear: reopen Congress to its members. This also means securing a safe and secure plenary hall in accordance with the health protocols set out by the IATF and the Department of Health,” Velasco said.
“The attendance of all lawmakers will enable them to meaningfully participate in the entire budget process and preparation, just like what the President wants, and not just to a small committee of hand-picked friends,” he added.