Live media coverage feared to delay budget passage

November 07, 2019

SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson should convince his colleagues in the Senate to agree on his  proposal to open for live media coverage the bicameral meetings for  the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion general appropriations bill (GAB).

In an ambush interview, Cayetano said the House of Representatives would act on Lacson’s suggestion after the Senate takes a position on  it.

While he is not against the proposal to promote transparency, Cayetano  said he sees delays in the passage of the national budget, saying  lawmakers may take advantage of the live media coverage to prolong the  debates.

“When you open it to the media, it’ll be February, March, April and we  still don’t have an approved budget. What good is the budget then?”  Cayetano asked, adding that live media coverage may turn the bicameral  meetings into a “circus.”

“We have to be very realistic on how we can get the job done. When you  open it for live coverage, what will happen is many (lawmakers) will  play to the media, play to the gallery, instead of really discussing  the budget,” said Cayetano.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to convene  the bicameral conference committee to reconcile the disagreeing  provisions in their versions of the national budget.

On Wednesday, Cayetano urged senators to finish their budget  deliberations this month so bicameral meetings can be scheduled by the  first week of December.