Study budget first, judge later, party-list solon tells senators

September 27, 2019

AN administration ally appealed to the senators to read and scrutinize first the transmitted budget bill before making  allegations of insertions and pork barrel.        

In a statement, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said it is better if the senators will first look at the House version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) before making any judgment.

Approved on third and final reading with provision that it can be amended is House Bill 4228 or the GAB which contains the proposed 2020 national budget amounting to P4.1 trillion.

The GAB is now being printed and will be transmitted to the Senate on October 1.

The House of Representatives approved in plenary the 2020 General Appropriations Bill in record time, two weeks before its self-imposed deadline.

“We appeal to the honorable members of the Senate to read and scrutinize first the transmitted bill before passing judgment on the product of the congressmen’s hard work,” Defensor said.

“ Hindi po tama na makialam ang sinomang kasapi ng Senado sa trabaho ng mga kongresista habang dinidinig pa namin ang panukalang batas. Ano ang basehan ng mga komento sa GAB kung hindi pa nila nababasa ang nilalaman nito?” he added.

Defensor issued the statement amidst the word war between Senator Panfilo Lacson and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, with the former accusing the House of Representatives of inserting pork barrel for every member.

Citing an unknown source, Lacson said the House allocated at least P1.5 billion for each Deputy Speaker and P700 million for each member of the chamber.

The House leaders vehemently denied Lacson’s allegations saying the additional P1.6 billion for the House budget for 2020 will be used for research and facelift of the Batasan Complex.

“Rumor-mongering has no place in legislative work. Hindi po puwedeng maging basehan ang mga tsismis sa pagsusuri ng batas. Peddling rumors are not the handiwork of esteemed senators. That job is reserved for fishwives,” Defensor also said.     

The solon also said the House of Representatives worked double-time in examining the 2020 General Appropriations Bill to give the Senate ample time to scrutinize the fiscal program.

He suggested that senators may raise their objections on the provisions of the bill when the bicameral conference committee convenes in late November or early December.

“That is not only our traditional practice, but our constitutional duty to jointly reconcile differences in the bicameral conference level.

“We passed the 2020 GAB strictly following the Speaker’s policy of ‘No Pork, No Parking, No Delay.’ We expect our colleagues in the Senate to adhere to the same principles,” he said.