MANILA - Newly-installed House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has "promised" to pass the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget before Congress suspends session for a month-long break this week, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.
Sotto said Velasco "got in touch" with him on Tuesday evening, hours after the House ratified the Marinduque representative's election as new Speaker.
"No protocol necessary but we agreed to meet soon to discuss legislative matters," Sotto told reporters in a text message.
When asked when the meeting would be held, the Senate President said: "After Friday when he promised to pass budget on third reading as he told me."
Last week, senators were "worried" that the 2021 budget may not be passed on time after Velasco's predecessor - ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano - abruptly suspended the House session until mid-November, a month later than the original October target for the spending bill to be transmitted to the Senate.
Sotto said he "hopes" that the Senate will have a good working relationship with Velasco and new House leaders.
"We had good relationships with the past leadership," Sotto said.
When asked what he told the new House Speaker during their conversation, the Senate President said: "I said, 'Congratulations, God Bless and good luck!'"
Velasco ascended to the House's top post after a lengthy power struggle with Cayetano, who refused to honor a term-sharing deal brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte last year.
The House session resumed on Tuesday after 186 congressmen ousted Cayetano - Duterte's former runningmate - in favor of Velasco, a close friend of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.