(Eagle News)–It is the Senate that is blocking the passage of the 2019 national budget, and not Speaker Gloria Arroyo, House majority leader Fredenil Castro said on Sunday, March 16.
According to Castro, in the first place, Arroyo, who, “since then up to now has been an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte,” already signed the budget bill the other week.
“Pirma na lang ni [Senate President] Tito Sotto ang wala at nagmamatigas siya na hindi nya Ito pipirmahan. Sino ngayon ang humaharang at nilalagay sa alanganin ang bayan?” Castro asked.
He said contrary to the Senate’s allegations, the 2019 budget was “constitutional” and “in accordance with the Supreme Court decision.”
He said it was no different from the ones done by previous speakers.
“Si Speaker [Arroyo] ang nagsusulong sa agenda ng Pangulo. Pinasa lahat nya ang priority legislation President Duterte. Ang TRAIN, Charter change, traffic bill at marami pa. Lahat ng ito ay hindi pa napapasa sa Senado,” Castro said.
Senate President Tito Sotto has refused to sign the budget bill, which Senator Panfilo Lacson said contained “alignments” done by congressmen in the already-ratified proposed national budget signed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
But House appropriations chair Rolando Andaya Jr. said these were not alignments but mere “itemizations” to make the proposed budget easier to understand.
Duterte stepped in to try to break the budget impasse, but the Senate and the House of Representatives stood by their respective positions.
Duterte has said he would not sign any “irregular document.”
The government has been operating on a reenacted budget in the absence of the passage of the 2019 national budget due to the impasse.