Senator Panfilo Lacson has warned the leadership of the House leadership of changes made to the approved version of the 2021 P4.56-trillion budget as this violates the Constitution.
Specifically, Lacson warned Rep. Eric Yap, House appropriations panel chair, who said on Saturday that any amendments introduced to the approved 2021 budget were initiated by concerned government agencies.
“No amount of technicalities and sweet-talk maneuvers can correct a flawed budget that is supposed to address the problems and concerns of more than 100 million Filipinos,” Lacson said in a statement.
“(Yap’s claim) that the ‘errata,’ aka amendments, will come from the implementing agencies and not from the individual House members will further muddle an already constitutionally infirm and error-filled budget measure,” he said.
While the House already approved the 2020 General Appropriations Bill containing the P4.56-trillion budget last Friday, a committee with limited members was formed to make last-minute changes to the bill before it was transmitted to the Senate.
“Why? The authorization part of the four-phase budget process is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress, and the executive should deal only with budget preparation and execution,” Lacson said.
The members of the committee was selected by the current House leadership under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Yap, however, insists any changes made were agency-related and that no revisions were made for pork barrel.
“These are all agency-initiated. Which is what I always emphasize because we keep getting beaten up in Congress. We’re always accused of inserting pork. I did not allow any congressman to insert pork,” the Congressman said.
“All these errata are all from agencies. Nothing came from a congressman,” Yap said.
Lacson, however, thinks otherwise and warned the House leadership on such a move, citing Article VI, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits changes to the budget approved by the House ”regardless of where the amendments will come from.”
“The Constitution does not say that it is applicable if they are only rushing errata: ‘Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal,’” Lacson said.
“It is time that we correct the mindset of the so-called representatives of the people in this regard,” he said. (sovereignph.com)