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GMA stoic, ‘had professor look’ when Senate rejected House request to rush budget— Migz


House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was quiet and showed her usual blank expression when Senate leaders informed her that they would not be able to pass the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 before the end of the year, according to Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri.

“Hindi naman (disappointed). She had her professor look, like ‘please pass your papers’,” Zubiri joked in an interview with reporters.

He recalled that Arroyo had requested the Senate to rush passage of the General Appropriations Bill once the House transmitted the measure to the chamber next week.

But Senate leaders told her there wouldn’t be enough time.

“According to Speaker GMA, isasubmit na nila ang budget sa Senado by Monday and kung pwede sana by that week umpisahan na namin agad ang deliberations ng national budget,” he recalled.

But the senators told her it would be very difficult.

“Realistically, ang sagot ni SP (Senate President) Sotto, baka di na kakayanin na ma-aprub ang budget itong taon na ito, kasi pag dinala dito sa Senate ang budget by Monday,” Zubiri said.

“Realistically we only have December 3-5 to deliberate, and December 10-12 to be able to pass it on third and final reading. Pero it’s too short,” he said.

Zubiri added: “So ang nakikita naming pwede maipasa sa Senado on third reading by December 12, however we still need to have bicam. So we are looking at the bicam during the break, and then ratification pagbalik on January 14,” he said.

“At the very least the week of January, 14-16 ratification, technically magkakaroon tayo ng re-enacted budget for two weeks to one month,” Zubiri said.

Congress will adjourn on December 12 and resume on January 14.

The House passed the GAB on third reading last Monday, leaving the Senate with less than three weeks to debate and pass the measure.