MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday reiterated his public apology to President Rodrigo Duterte following the President’s speech admonishing members of Congress to settle the leadership impasse at the House of Representatives.
“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. In this, 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 for adding anxiety to an already uncertain situation," Cayetano said in a Facebook post.
Cayetano said the 2021 national budget will be passed on time.
"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," he added.
“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. To our countrymen, we know that many lives and livelihoods have been lost, and we believe we can help everyone by delivering fully budgeted programs that are responsive to the needs of our fellow citizens as we rebuild the nation from this public health and economic crisis. The budget will empower the government to create programs that will help the nation adapt, innovate, and manage during these trying times. We want to present a budget that will be the embodiment of our hope for the future. A budget that will allow us - not just to dream of recovery - but to bring this to reality. We understand he fears and concerns, but we are confident that history’s judgement will show our intentions to be for the country," Cayetano also said.
He said the House will submit the printed budget to the Senate on Nov. 5 to give them time to proceed with their hearings before the House approves it on Nov. 16.
He also defended his actions.
“We likewise assure the President that all the actions that we have taken are legal, constitutional, and in line with time honored precedence in the House. Neither I nor the other members of Congress will sacrifice the budget in this critical time, for political expediency," Cayetano said.
Duterte on Thursday appealed to lawmakers to refrain from any political "play" that would imperil the approval of the national budget, which includes funds for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Huwag naman sana ninyong sobrahan ang laro sa Congress na iyong budget mismo, ang nailagay sa alanganin. I am just appealing to you,” Duterte said in a taped public address.
(Don't be excessive in your play there in Congress that the budget is put in jeopardy.)