House reopens 2021 budget debates as new leadership debuts

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2020 05:51 PM

MANILA — The House of Representatives on Tuesday reopened deliberations on the 2021 national budget hours after majority of lawmakers voted to install Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the chamber's new Speaker.

"The House reconsiders [the] second reading approval of House Bill 7727 or the 2021 General Appropriations Bill. The period of sponsorship and debate as well as the period of amendments are also reconsidered," the HOR tweeted Tuesday afternoon. 

At the height of the leadership row last week, ousted Speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano abruptly passed the 2021 spending plan on second reading, and terminated deliberations in favor of a small committee to avoid "politics and saboteurs." 

This as Velasco was pushing to enforce their term-sharing agreement, which Cayetano sought to delay to December citing the budget bill. 

This forced President Rodrigo Duterte to intervene, certifying the 2021 national budget as urgent in a bid to ensure that the country would not operate on a reenacted spending plan without provisions for pandemic response and recovery.

During Velasco's debut plenary session as Speaker, 301 lawmakers were present.