Is the House of Representatives’ description as a “House of the People” mere lip service after all?
Sen. Panfilo Lacson raised this point as he slammed the House of Representatives’ plan to transmit the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill to the Senate not earlier than Nov. 5.
“Amid promises of ‘best efforts’ to transmit the budget bill by end-October, if the House still ends up transmitting the bill on Nov. 5, does it mean that the description ‘House of the People’ is all lip service?” Lacson said in a statement on Friday.
He reiterated the Nov. 5 date will likely delay the passage of the budget, resulting in a re-enacted 2020 budget in the early part of 2021.
On Thursday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was informed that the House will transmit the budget bill to the Senate on Nov. 5, but said Speaker Lord Allan Velasco had promised “best efforts” to transmit the bill by end-October.
Earlier, Lacson said the Senate will need time to study the House version of the bill. If the House transmits the bill on Nov. 5, he said there is “no assurance that we can pass the budget on time and thus avoid a re-enacted budget.”
On the other hand, Lacson said it is hard to understand why the House is to approve its version of the budget bill on Oct. 16, yet take half a month to transmit it to the Senate when printing it will take only one week.
“Not only is the delay unacceptable. It is difficult to understand, unless there are plans to amend the bill after the third reading,” he said.
Lacson also reminded the House leadership to adhere to Art. VI, Sec. 26 of the 1987 Constitution that says: “Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed.”