Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III. INQUIRER file photo
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Koko Pimentel on Saturday said Senate was correct on maintaining ratified version of the 2019 national budget and it should not have been itemized after ratification.
“Sa aking palagay, the Senate position is correct. Wala nang galawan. Kahit magdagdag ka ng centavo dun, wala ng galawan dun. Re-enacted na ang bicameral conference report,” Pimentel, former Senate President, said over local radio station DWIZ.
(For me, the Senate position is correct. [The budget] should not have been tweaked. Even if you add a centavo, it should not have been tweaked. The bicameral conference report has already been re-enacted.)
The P3.8-trillion proposed 2019 national budget has yet to be passed for signature of the President. Senate has been urging to maintain the ratified version of the budget bill while House of Representatives said they itemized after both chambers of Congress ratified it.
READ: After months of delay, Congress finally ratifies 2019 budget
The House budget bill was already transmitted to Senate for the signature of the Senate President.
However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed that he would not sign the budget bill with House amendments as it would violate the Revised Penal Code and the Constitution.
READ: Sotto: Modified budget bill contains P96B House realignments
Pimentel then likened the ratified budget to “touch move” rule in chess, saying that the budget should not have been tweaked after it was ratified by Senate and House.
“Dapat after ng bicameral conference ratification, in-approve na yung budget. Tawag dun touch move. Wala nang balikan, wala nang galawan. Ito na yun kung ano yung in-approve ninyo, ‘Yun na yun,” he said.
(After the bicameral conference ratification, the budget was already approved. That’s what we call touch move. There should not have been a review, it should not have been tweaked.)
Meanwhile, Pimentel expressed dismay over the feud between House and Senate as the budget bill has yet to be passed for the President’s signature.
“Nakakalungkot kasi both Houses dominado ng supporters o alyado ni Presidente Duterte and this is the president’s budget. Hindi namin madeliver sa kanya,” he said.
(It is disappointing because both [chambers] of Congress are dominated with supporters and allies of President Rodrigo Duterte and this is the President’s budget. We can’t deliver it to him.)
The senator then lamented that if there was an existing lump-sum appropriations in the ratified budget, the Supreme Court should look into it and render it constitutional.
“‘Yun ang nakakalungkot. Kung lump sum man yun na in-approve namin, then let it be questioned sa Supreme Court. Let it be declared unconstitutional, so be it,” he said. /jpv
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