House using Senate as 'scapegoat' for 2021 budget delay: Sotto

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2020 01:22 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said the House of Representatives is using the Senate as a "scapegoat" as the passage of the 2021 budget is placed in limbo due to a power struggle in the Batasang Pambansa.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies earlier justified the abrupt suspension of the session, saying the passage of the 2021 budget would only be delayed by a day unless senators fail to quickly deliberate on it.

"Isa lang ang sagot sa mga sinasabi na 'yan... 'PALUSOT,'" Sotto told reporters in a text message.

(There is only one answer to what they are saying... "EXCUSES.")

Cayetano and his allies earlier said that in previous Congresses, the Senate was able to pass the budget a week after it received the spending bill from the House.

But Sotto noted that the House leaders' timeframe did not take into account the number of days needed to print and transmit the bill to the Senate, as well as bicameral conference meetings to reconcile differing provisions in the budget.

Sotto and other senators earlier said that the Speakership row in the House has delayed the 2021 budget proceedings by at least a month.

"Ang tanong, bakit niyo (House) kami dinadamay sa problema niyo?" Sotto said.

(The question is, why are you dragging us into your problems?)

Cayetano suspended House sessions a day after Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco - his rival for the speakership - sought to take over the chamber's top post on October 14 per a term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.