MANILA - The country will surely operate on a reenacted budget next year due to the delay caused by the House of Representatives, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday.
The House on Tuesday passed on second reading the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget upon House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's motion, but terminated the session until next month amid his leadership tussle with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
"Hindi sa hindi maa-approve, siguradong reenacted pagka ganyan," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(It's not that the budget won't be approved, it would surely be reenacted.)
"Ang collateral damage ang taumbayan. 'Yung political warfare sila-sila na lang 'yun. Puro politika, gusto ba ng taumbayan 'yan? Yung para sa 2021 budget nakatuon para sa pandemic, Build, Build, Build, recovery ng ekonomiya, health nawala."
(The people will serve as collateral damage in their political warfare. The public doesn't want politics. The fund allocated in the 2021 budget for the pandemic, Build, Build, Build, economic and health recovery vanished.)
The House can pass its version of the 2021 budget and submit it to the Senate on time if it holds a session on Oct. 12, Sotto said.
"Whatever it is, 'wag nila kami idamay at 'wag nila kaming pagbibintangan na delayed ang budget dahil sa'min. Delayed na sila eh," he said.
(Whatever it is, don't involve the Senate and don't blame us for the delayed budget. The House is delayed.)
Cayetano, in a Facebook live video, earlier claimed that the month-long suspension of the House’s session would only delay budget proceedings by one day, even if his chamber has yet to pass the spending bill on final reading.
Several senators have rejected Cayetano's claim, saying the printing and the transmission of the House’s version of the budget to the Senate alone would take at least 3 days.
"Kung ibigay sa'min ng Nov. 17, 1 linggo pa lang 'yun printing tapos committee reports... Pano sasabihin mong 1 araw lang ang delay at paano kami ang may kasalanan?" he said.
(If they give it to us on Nov. 17, printing will take 1 week then there are committee reports. How is that 1 day and how is it our fault?)
Sotto added that he had spoken with Cayetano on Tuesday night, with the Speaker informing him that the House will submit the General Appropriations Bill to Senate next month.
"Bakit may biglang statement ngayon na kami ang may kasalanan pag di napasa at reenacted ang budget. Paano ako maniniwala ngayon?"
(Why is there suddenly a statement that it will be our fault if the budget won't be passed and will be reenacted? How can I believe him now?)
Sotto had said he would deliver a privilege speech to address the budget issue next week.
— With reports from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News