The House of Representatives and Senate on Friday, March 15 addressed that they are open to dialogue to break the impasse over the already delayed budget proposal for 2019, yet both sides are standing firm on their positions regarding lump-sum appropriations in the measure.
House appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur addressed that the lower chamber is also open to the proposal of Senate President Vicente Sotto III for the two chambers to hold a special session to break the impasse.
However, Sotto responded and noted that the Senate is willing to dialogue with the House as long as the lower chamber transmits the original General Appropriations Bill (GAB) as ratified by Congress last month.
Senators have alleged that the House leadership has realigned and itemized as much as Php 96 billion from the GAB after it was already ratified by the two chambers last Feb. 8, a move that they claimed was illegal and unconstitutional. Sotto earlier suggested that to break the deadlock, the Senate and House transmit the version of GAB as originally ratified so President Duterte can sign it into law after vetoing the lump sums itemized by the House.
He also added that the lump sum appropriations – comprising only about two percent of the proposed budget – can now be tackled in a short special session and be approved as a supplemental budget.