Reenacted budget looms if stalemate stays

Panfilo Lacson

SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday insisted that the leadership of the Senate will choose to operate on a reenacted budget until August this year rather than approve the 2019 General Appropriations Act that was amended by some members of the House of Representatives.

Lacson said that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will not sign an enrolled bill on this year’s appropriations for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature if the Lower House sticks with its amendments.

“Talagang titigasan ng Senado na kung hindi yung napag-usapan sa bicameral conference ang pipirmahan as an enrolled bill, hindi pipirmahan yun ni Senate President Sotto,” Lacson told Super Radyo dzBB in an interview.

He added that all indications now point to having a reenacted budget at least up to August with the ongoing stalemate.

But according to House Committee on Appropriations chair Rolando Andaya, what they did was simply to itemize the “lump sum” HFEP funds in the bicameral version of the proposed GAA already ratified by both houses of Congress.

Lacson however pointed out that Article VI, Section 26 of the Constitution states that no amendment should be made to a measure already approved on third and final reading.

He also said that a continuous reenacted budget would have dire consequences to the economy.

The government has been operating on a reenacted budget since January this year after Congress failed to pass the 2019 General Appropriations Act before 2018 ended.