Senate President Vicente Sotto III in early March said he would not sign the enrolled copy of the General Appropriations Bill unless the House of Representatives withdraws all the changes it made amounting to over P95 billion into an already ratified budget.
Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal
Sotto signs 2019 national budget but with ‘strong reservations’
(Philstar.com) - March 26, 2019 - 3:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III has signed with “strong reservations” the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019, ending an impasse among lawmakers that has delayed the enactment of a new spending plan and restricted new projects aimed to foster growth.

According to a report by The STAR, Sotto urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the realignments made by the House of Representatives in the national budget that senators believe to be unconstitutional.

Sotto early this month said he would not sign the enrolled copy of the General Appropriations Bill unless the House withdraws all the changes it made amounting to over P95 billion into an already ratified budget.

In a “last-ditch effort” to resolve the budget row, House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr. (Camarines Sur) last week said the House leadership has dispatched the secretary general to the Senate to “physically retrieve” the budget documents that were sent to the senators.

The squabble has delayed the signing of the budget bill by Duterte, who said he would not approve an “illegal document.” This is the first time since the Arroyo administration that the government has resorted to running on a re-enacted budget.

Andaya previously insisted that the House only “itemized” the lump sums created during the bicameral conference committee on the budget bill, adding that the Senate also did the same to the spending plan after it was ratified.

Last week, Andaya maintained that the House was “not withdrawing or backtracking from our earlier position.”

“We maintain that the House did nothing unconstitutional, illegal or irregular when we approved and ratified the 2019 GAB in plenary session,” he said. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral with a report from The STAR/Paolo Romero

2019 NATIONAL BUDGET
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