House ratifies P3.75-trillion 2019 national budget

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2019 07:36 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2019 08:19 PM

The House of Representatives ratified on Friday the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

The ratification came just a few hours after senators and House members approved the budget.

The Senate still has to approve the bicameral conference committee's version of the budget before it can be submitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature.

The approval came a day before the 17th Congress goes to break for the May midterm elections.

Only ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio objected to the ratification of the budget, but his voice was drowned out by the voices of the majority led by Majority Leader Fredenil Castro, who voted to adopt the report.

Government has been running on a reenacted 2018 budget since the start of the year after lawmakers failed to pass the spending law before the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline.

Budget deliberations in the House of Representatives stalled last year after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr accused Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno of inserting P75 billion in public works allocations.

Diokno denied wrongdoing and the Senate on Jan. 15 removed the P75 billion.

Andaya on Friday accused Diokno of attempting to "bribe" lawmakers for them to keep silent over alleged irregularities in the 2019 budget.

Diokno dismissed Andaya's charge as "false" and "baseless."