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Constitutional issues involving the House version notwithstanding, Sen. Panfilo Lacson sees enough time for the Senate to pass the P4.5-trillion proposed budget for 2021 before yearend to avoid a reenacted budget.

Lacson said this Tuesday after the House transmitted its version of the budget bill to the Senate, a day ahead of its Oct. 28 “deadline.”

“Regardless of the constitutional issues involving the House of Representatives’ version of the 2021 budget bill, it is still good that the Senate has enough time to approve our own version, leaving room for the bicameral conference and submission to the President for approval, thus avoiding a re-enacted budget,” Lacson said in a statement.

On Tuesday morning, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said they are transmitting the House version of the budget to the Senate, a day ahead of the Oct. 28 deadline.

Earlier, Lacson warned the House’s initial plan to transmit the budget on Nov. 5 may leave little time for the Senate to pass its version of the budget, potentially leading to a reenacted 2020 budget in the first part of 2021.

On the other hand, Lacson questioned the House’s tackling of amendments after approving the bill on third reading, which he said goes against the 1987 Constitution.

He questioned the House’s “small committee/group” tackling of amendments to the bill even after approving it on third and final reading.

Meanwhile, Lacson said he already submitted his Subcommittee C report covering all the agencies assigned to him as Senate Committee on Finance Vice Chairman. He said this was in compliance with the Oct. 26 deadline set by the Finance Committee chaired by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.

“However, I based my report on the National Expenditure Program, with a caveat that necessary adjustments will be made once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted by the House,” Lacson said.

“Now that the GAB is available as reported, once we get hold of our copy, I’ll make adjustments based on the House version of the budget bill,” he added.

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