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Senators prod House on budget

SENATE President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III confirmed that House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco promised to try their best to transmit to the Senate the House-approved 2021 budget bill by the end of October.

“I just talked to Speaker Velasco and I requested him to help facilitate the transmittal to us on 28th October at the most and that is 10 days after they pass it on third reading,” Sotto said.

“He (Velasco) promised best effort,” he added.

Sotto called Velacso after he learned that the House plans to submit to the Senate the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which contains the proposed budget, on November 5 or over two weeks after its third reading approval in the lower chamber.

Several senators feared that some congressmen may add post-approval amendments to the spending bill and that the upper chamber would not have enough time to deliberate on it.

“If they (House) will pass on third reading tomorrow, I cannot understand why they would submit the GAB (General Appropriations Bill) to us on November 5. Unless may plano na naman silang mag-amend [they have a plan to amend] after the third reading,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said.

“It’s not enough time. ‘Pag November 5 pa makarating dito sa Senado,” Senator Sonny Angara for his part said.