(Photo Courtesy: http://www.pna.gov.ph)

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he will keep his hands off in the tussle between Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco but appealed to Congressmen to get the proposed 2021 budget passed.

“As a senator, I do not want to meddle in the internal affairs of the House of  Representatives, such as the selection of its speaker,” he said in a statement.

Go said the P4.56-trillion budget was crafted to help the country’s economy rebound from the battering it got from the coronavirus disease 2019. In the second quarter of this year, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by 16.5 percent. GDP in the first half of the year was tallied at -9 percent.

“My only appeal to my fellow legislators, given the health crisis we are still in now, is to set aside political and partisan differences as well as personal ambitions in favor of national interests and the welfare of our people,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself wants the House to prioritize the passage and approval of the proposed 2021 budget in a special session he officially called by issuing Proclamation 1027 last Friday. The special session starts today and will last until October 16.

Some lawmakers have warned that failure to pass and approve the proposed 2021 budget will automatically result in the government operating with a reenacted budget, or 2020’s approved allocation of P4.1 trillion. This could hamper government’s efforts to implement the necessary stimulus programs to revive the Philippine economy.

Similar appeal made

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the House must prioritize the passage and approval of the proposed 2021 budget and that the leadership issue be resolved after that.

“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 a statement.

Romualdez made the statement before Velasco and his allies installed him as House Speaker on Monday via a session held at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.

After that move, Cayetano fired back at Velasco and his allies. The representative from Taguig-Pateros said the move resulted in the “pambababoy” (desecration) of the House and called it “nakakahiya” (shameful).

Under a term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Cayetano, the former was supposed to take over the leadership of the House this October 14. 

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