SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano stood pat on the decision of the majority to suspend session until November 16 and it was left to a small committee to discuss amendments to the budget measure.
Responding to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to patch up things between him and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Cayetano apologized to the President and to the nation for adding anxiety to an already uncertain situation.
Cayetano then vowed to submit to the Senate on November 5 the printed proposed 2021 national budget.
He said this would allow the senators to proceed with their own hearings and prepare the way for the formal transmittal of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill on November 16 when the House is expected to approve it on Third and Final Reading.
“And it is with this in mind that we would like to assure the President and our fellow citizens that despite all the noise, the 2021 budget will be passed on time. I thank Senate President Sotto for his understanding and his commitment to work with us in the House of Representatives in meeting the nation’s deadline,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“We welcome the President’s stern warning to all parties to stop all the politicking as it could jeopardize the welfare of our fellow citizens at this critical time. We are not evading any responsibility for our own actions and would in fact like to sincerely apologize again to the President and the whole nation,” Cayetano said.
There are calls for Cayetano to reconsider the suspension of session as well as the termination of period of interpellation.
It was Cayetano who moved to pass on second reading the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) without scrutinizing major agencies’ and big line item budgets.
He also moved to suspend session until November 16, obviously avoiding the supposed turnover of House leadership on October 14.
“We assure the President that all the actions we have taken are legal, constitutional, and in line with time honored precedents in the House. Neither I nor the other members of Congress will sacrifice the budget in this time for political expediency,” Cayetano said.
“We take the President’s stern admonition to heart and we assure the public that we share his concern for the welfare of our people,” Cayetano added.
In his address, the President urged the House to resolve the impasse on the budget and pass the 2021 national budget legally and constitutionally.
“If you do not solve the problem then I will solve the problem for you. Mamili kayo. Ang pakiusap ko, ayusin niyo. Isipin niyo ang Pilipino na nasa ospital at yung mamatay ngayon na walang gamot,” he said.