Tag: House of Representatives

On the House’s Nov. 5 Transmittal of the 2021 Budget Bill to the Senate

If the House of Representatives’ transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill to the Senate will be on Nov. 5 or 6, there is no assurance that we can pass the budget on time and thus avoid a re-enacted budget.

As they have promised the President, they will approve the GAB on third and final reading today, Oct. 16, and it only takes one week to print, so why Nov. 5?

Not only is the delay unacceptable. It is difficult to understand, unless there are plans to amend the bill after the third reading.

That said, the House leadership should be reminded to adhere to Art. VI, Sec. 26 of the Constitution that says: “Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed…xxx

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?

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On the President’s ‘Option’ to Take a Direct Hand in Resolving the Budget Impasse

It is the President’s option to do whatever is necessary, even taking a “direct” hand in resolving the Speakership issue, with the timely passage of the 2021 national budget as his only consideration. After all, anything that has to do with national interest should involve the President.

This is one credit I would give to the President. As the leader of the coalition of political parties in the House of Representatives, I don’t think there is impropriety if he steps in to resolve the impasse between conflicting groups that are both his allies anyway. A few calls to the leaders of those coalitions can simplify matters.

Having said that, how can the Senate accept a printed copy of an unapproved House version of the budget bill, as proposed by Speaker Cayetano? We can only file a committee report once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted to us after it has been approved on third and final reading. Why do they have to wait for Nov. 16 to approve the budget on third and final reading? I can’t understand any of this.

Our priority in the Senate remains the same – to pass on time a national budget that will allow us to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This includes scrutinizing the budget bill to make sure huge sums are not lost to incompetence or greed.

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#PINGterview: Likely Delay in Passage of 2021 Budget; Sec. Duque’s WHO Post

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* likely delay in passage of 2021 budget
* Sec. Duque’s new post at the World Health Organization

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Sec. Duque, ‘Di Pa Lusot sa PhilHealth Mess; DPWH Lump Sums, Pondohan ang Universal Health Care?

In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* options on further actions regarding anomalies at PhilHealth
* possible use of questionable sums in DPWH budget to address budget shortage for health care in 2021

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On the Leadership Change in the House of Representatives

No matter who leads the House, the Senate – or at least like-minded senators who choose to be the vanguards against the legislative abuse of the power of the purse – will not be affected.

We will continue to exercise what is expected of us in exercising our mandate and our obligation to the Filipino people in this regard.

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On the Early Fighting over ‘Pork’ in the 2021 Budget

This early, we are already seeing the ugly effects of “pork.”

More than the possible delay in the passage of the 2021 national budget, any ugly squabble in plenary over the distribution of earmarks a.k.a. “pork” is exactly that – ugly.

When statesmanship goes out the window, our people’s respect towards the legislature as an institution as well as its individual members somehow dissipates.

Any way we look at it, it is sad and lamentable, to say the least.

Having said that, the total amount representing P135 billion covering 5,913 reappropriated items and P396 billion in lump sum appropriations lodged in the central office of the DPWH may need further clarification.

It is basic that once an infra project has started its implementation, it is already obligated. Hence, there can be no partial cash allocation, unless that project is discontinued, cancelled, or terminated. Then, the unused portion of the appropriation becomes savings that may be realigned. Or, if the project is covered by Multi Year Contractual Authority (MYCA), formerly known as MYOA or Multi Year Obligational Authority which is clearly spelled out and provided in the 2020 GAA, the same item can reappear in the succeeding budget year.

We were not born yesterday as far as budgeting is concerned.

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On the Denial of a Legislative Franchise to ABS-CBN

I don’t think the standards for the granting of legislative franchises will change. The case of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise application is ‘sui generis’ in a manner of speaking.

The Machiavellian leadership style easily comes to mind, and if I may quote what Niccolo Machiavelli once wrote: “I’d rather be feared than loved if I cannot be both.” Accept it or not, the President’s body language was obvious enough for the House leadership and allies not to read and interpret the way they voted yesterday.

All that being said, Machiavellian or not, President Duterte’s leadership style is a class by itself and is proving to be an effective style of leadership. Whatever individual and collective reasons the 70 Committee on Legislative Franchise members have in voting against the media giant, nobody can argue that under the Constitution, a legislative franchise is up to Congress to grant or not.

With regard to ABS-CBN, the only message I have for them is: “You fall today, you will rise tomorrow, and that’s for sure.” It is as simple as that.

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#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH

In an interview on Abante Radyo Tabloidista, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ABS-CBN franchise [30:25]
* Fake news vs Anti-Terrorism Law [37:22]
* Cops accused of violating the law [16:07]
* Dealing with COVID at home [21:20]
* DOH issues in handling COVID pandemic [24:05]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Disinformation Drive vs Anti-Terror Bill; Fate of Bayanihan II Act | June 4, 2020

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Disinformation campaign vs Anti-Terror Bill
* Bayanihan Act II
* Safeguards vs Repeat of DOH ‘Overpricing’

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: DOH Overpricing, NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas, Bayanihan Act Extension

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* second wave of COVID? [0:21]
* pattern of overpricing at DOH [3:05]
* day of reckoning vs those behind overpricing [7:46]
* need for extension of Bayanihan Act [12:17]
* fate of NCRPO chief Debold Sinas [13:21]
* ABS-CBN franchise issue [16:50]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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