THE House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the proposed P4.56-trillion 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) as Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano moved to terminate budget deliberations “to prove that he was was not taking the national budget hostage,” as accused Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
The chamber also moved to terminate deliberations until November 16, effectively blocking the intention of Velasco to take over the House leadership by October 14.
“Sabi ni Cong. Velasco, hostage ko raw yung budget. Kung hostage ko po yung budget (Cong. Velasco said I am holding the budget hostage. If I am doing that) I will now move to defer the budget and to take it up in November — if hino-hostage ko yung (I am hostaging the) budget. But I will prove to Cong.Velasco and his cohorts today that I am not hostaging the budget. Applying Section 55 of our rules I move to terminate the period of debate of House Bill No. 7727 otherwise known as the GAB,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano sought to to create a committee to entertain amendments until November 5. Subsequentely, the House approved the 2021 GAB followed by a suspension of sessions until November 16 upon the motion of Deputy Majority Leader XJ Romualdo.
Based on the legislative calendar, the official suspension will be from October 17 to November 15 this year.
This also means there will be no House session on October 14, the day Velasco intended to take over the House leadership based on a term-sharing agreement.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was more interested in the House getting the proposed P4.56-trillion 2021 budget approved that had programs and projects to help the Philippine economy recover from the battering it got from the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The approved budget for this year is P4.1 trillion.