Senators frown on proposed special session on 2019 budget

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2018 01:28 PM

Senators frown on proposed special session on 2019 budget 1

MANILA - Some senators frowned Thursday on Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno's proposal for the Senate to hold a special session to finish deliberations on the proposed P3.7 trillion national budget for 2019.

Diokno earlier said that he would recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special session to pass the proposed P3.7 trillion budget for next year and prevent the government from using a reenacted budget.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Miguel Zubiri frowned at the idea of holding special sessions since Thursday is supposed to be the last session day of Congress.

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Lacson said, quoting the Bible.

He also appealed to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea not to support Diokno's planned recommendation to the President.

“I would like to issue an appeal to him (Medialdea) not to endorse the anticipated recommendation of Secretary of Department of Budget and Management Ben Diokno to call for a special session,” Lacson added.

Zubiri meanwhile noted that Congress can work on the budget anew once it resumes work next year.

“To call for a special session, I doubt if we will have a quorum, probably for both houses…We can work on the budget again as soon we are back,” he said.

Sotto meanwhile noted that senators are already working up to the late hours of the evening just to speed up budget deliberations.

The Senate still has to tackle several parts of the 2019 national budget such as allocations for the Department of Tourism, Department of Justice, and the Department of Health.

“Even if we extend our session for another five days for another week, it is impossible for us to enact the budget before the year ends,” Lacson said.

Leaders of the House of Representatives meanwhile have expressed openness to hold a special session in order to ratify the proposed national budget for 2019.