Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday threatened to remove the Senate version of the P3.8 trillion bill from a two-arm committee meeting, which marked prejudice between government lawmakers and the state budget.
The budget has stalled since December, on the assumption that billions of pesos were destined for dubious government projects.
The Sotto threat posed a reenacted budget because the Senate and the House of Representatives were about to resume the 2019 budget debate at the Manila Polo Club in Makati.
This happened on the day after the discovery of Old Panfilo Lakson that some senators compromise contracts to protect P23 billion in "individual modifications" for infrastructure projects that can be considered pork.
Sotto said he would wish Senate Loren Legard, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to withdraw the Senate Expenditure Program version and choose a recurring budget.
"I hope that [this] will remove all doubts and allegations of pork and other so-called budget cuts, ”Sotto said in a text message to reporters.
"I'm sick and tired of allegations," he said.
Pork, known as the Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), is a one-off payment that the legislators used to control their pet projects.
In 2013, the Supreme Court declared that the PDAF transplant is constitutional.
Lacson said he would support the Senate president.
"He (Sotto) must be as dissatisfied as I do, like most of my fellow-like colleagues, that pork has not left the annual budget even after [Supreme Court] a ruling that banned it in a significant decision, ”Lacson told Inquirer.
Sotto disrupted the fears that the renewed budget could lead to a May election delay due to lack of funding.
“The question of elections is just an excuse. This is the budget for 2018, ”said Sotto.
The Build program may suffer
Minority leader Franklin Drillon opposes the reenacted budget, while Legard said he would be reviewing the Sotto statement.
Ralph Recto said that the renewed budget "will not be good for job creation and will stop economic growth", adding that President Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" program will also suffer.
Opposition Sensa Francis Pangilinan said he was against a reenacted budget because it would give Malacañang "an empty check election year."
In response to the statements made by Sotto, the leaders of Parliament announced that they were also opposed to a repeated budget.
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told reporters that she wanted the Congress-approved budget of P3.8 trillion to be "late yet."
Rolando Andaya Jr., Chairman of the Household Commissions Committee, Chairman of the Conference Committee, rejected the Sotto proposal, arguing that the Senators had internal affairs on the budget disputes.
"Our position remains unchanged: we want a new budget," he said in a statement.
Since January, the government has been operating with a renewed budget.
Both chambers have the time pressure to hand over the new budget before the interruption of Congress on February 6, just before the start of the campaign season.
Sotto accused Parliament of taking a "hardball" position that made it difficult for both panels to reach a common position.
“What do we prefer? Budget or budget updated [tainted with] so many claims? “Sotto said.
He believed that Mr Duterte would support his suggestion.
“As I said, he is disgusting about corruption. If he continues to hear these statements, he can only agree with my suggestion, ”said Sotto. – With DJ Yap Report
MORE READ OUT
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access the Philippine Daily Requester and other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download at 4:00 and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000