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Villafuerte’s new budget bill will face Lacson’s scrutiny, solons warned

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Congressmen have warned that the decision of Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte to recall the filing of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) will surely raise doubts in the ongoing proceedings of the Lower House.

A screenshot obtained by Politiko disclosed a supposed conversation between House Committee on Ways and Appropriations panel chair Isidro Ungab, wherein the Albay congressman told the Davao City solon that the action of Villafuerte following the withdrawal of the filed legislation for the proposed P4.1-trillion National Budget for 2020, will attract critics of the Pork Barrel Funds especially Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

“Naku it will not only derail, it will the target of Ping Lacson,” Salceda told Ungab.

Ungab in response stressed that he was “afraid” that the “insertion issue” will be raised by Lacson and other critics of the administration, following the GAB withdrawal last week.

“I was afraid of the ‘insertion’ issue and yes, it’s real fireworks pagdating kay Lacson,” said Ungab.

Ungab stressed that Villafuerte’s action will not help them defend the GAB once it’s refile anytime from now.

“I don’t think they will help us defend ourselves if we are already under attack,” said Ungab.

Ungab earlier said Villafuerte apparently wanted to filed a new version of GAB despite the fact that the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) are almost finished printing its original version under House Bill No. 4228

Ungab warned that the GAB withdrawal “will surely derail the budget” timetable.

The signing of the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 into law was delayed by four months as the Senate and House earlier this year reached stalemate over the insertions supposedly made by congressmen after the GAB has been ratified by the Bicameral Conference Committee.

Villafuerte confirmed he withdrew the 2020 GAB filed by Ungab’s House Committee on Appropriations during the plenary session on August 28 since its filing was “premature.”

“The premature filing of HB4228 goes against the very commitment of the House leadership to tackle the 2020 GAB—and all other legislative measures for that matter—in timely fashion and with full transparency from the committee to the plenary stages?” Villafuerte said.

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