The House will resolve its leadership issue after the proposed P4.56-trillion national budget will be approved, according to House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said on Sunday.
“The budget before politics. Let us pass the national budget as requested by the President for 2021 on third and final reading on Friday, October 16,” Romualdez said in statement.
The House is currently rocked by a battle between House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Lord Allan Velasco for its leadership, which has caused fears the passage of the proposed 2021 budget will be stalled.
“Politics such as the Speakership issue will be tackled after the passage of the national budget to assure a smooth transition,” Romualdez said.
To avoid the government operating with a reenacted budget next year, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday called for the resumption of sessions from October 13 at the House to tackle the proposed 2021 budget.
Romualdez, who gave way to the Velasco and Cayetano to share terms in being House Speaker, earlier made an appeal to his fellow Congressman to “give their full cooperation” in making sure the proposed P4.56-trillion 2021 budget will be passed on time.
“The very transparent process of budget deliberations will always be observed to ensure its legality and constitutionality,” said Romualdez, the representative of Leyte.
It can be recalled that Romualdez was a contender for the House leadership but Duterte prevailed upon him to withdraw from the race, allowing Cayetano and Velasco to enter into a term-sharing deal for Speaker.
Velasco acknowledged on Friday that the Leyte lawmaker was a part of the term-sharing deal, which he said should be honored by the parties involved.
The passage and approval by Congress of the P4.5-trillion national budget would be critical in reviving the Philippine economy that has been mauled by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
This year’s approved budget is P4.1 trillion agency. The country’s gross domestic product contracted by 16.5 percent in the second quarter of this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.