‘Shy’ senators chided

Rolando Andaya Jr.

THE chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations bared yesterday that the Senate also itemized their amendments after Congress ratified the 2019 national budget, but senators failed to identify themselves as endorsers of proposed projects.

In a press conference, Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr., the panel chairman, said the Senate only submitted its list of projects on February 11, 2019 or three days after both Houses of Congress ratified this year’s P3.757-trillion national budget last February 8.

“After both Houses have ratified the bicam report, that’s when the Senate and the House submitted their details,”  Andaya told reporters, explaining that the itemization of amendments on lump sum funds were among the parameters agreed during the bicameral conference committee.

Andaya also explained what the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional is when lawmakers give details or make amendments to the projects after the President has signed the national budget.

“Bawal iyung makialam ang sinumang miyembro ng Kongreso sa post-enactment stage of the budget. Hindi puwedeng magbigay ng detalye kapag napirmahan na ang budget at naging batas na,” said Andaya.

At the same time, Andaya said the Senate failed to identify from its submitted list of an estimated P21 billion worth of infrastructure funds the names of senators who requested the projects.

On the contrary, Andaya said House members identified themselves in the detailed-list of infrastructure projects also worth P21 billion.

“Sa Senate details, wala pong nakalagay dito kung sinong senador ang humingi at nag-request. So kung transparency lang siguro, nanguguna na ang House of Representatives,” said Andaya, adding that House members have identified also their names and projects in all departments.

Andaya said the House submitted yesterday to the Palace through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the four books of 2019 national budget.

“We tend to send this to the Palace this afternoon and the copies for the Senate have already been sent,” Andaya said.

“Mission accomplished na kami,” said Andaya after they itemized the amendments of lump sum funds.

Andaya said he is hoping that the Senate will sign the 2019 national budget.