SA GITNA ng pangamba ng iilang senador, nanindigan si Senior Deputy Speaker at Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon na ang P20 bilyones na institutional amendments ay ginagawa upang itama at pagandahin ang pagkakasulat ng panukalang P4.5 trilyong national budget para sa 2021 na aprobado sa pangatlo at huling pagdinig noong Biyernes.
Paliwanag ni Leachon walang binago ang small committee na pinamumunuan ni House Majority Leader at Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez sa pambansang budget.
“They are more in the way corrections of style and of errata, and they do not add to the total amounts which are already fixed as deliberated upon at the plenary, but rather corrections of style and errata. Needless to state, all past budget processes have accepted them with a presumption of regularity,” ani Leachon na miyembro rin ng small committee.
“Due to lack of material time and the interest of expediency, particularly so that we’re limited in a period stated in Proclamation 1027, Congress normally and traditionally does allow amendments after the third reading as these amendments are not literally so in that technical concept as to violate constitutional provisions,” giit ni Leachon.
Nauna nang sinabi ni Sen. Panfilo Lacson na bawal ang pagbago ng budget pagkatapos itong aprobahan.
“I assure you, I guarantee you, that as far as the House leadership is concerned, we are in accordance with our agreement with the Senate and, of course, in accordance with the Constitution. We actually did not add or [make] any amendments after the third reading,” ani Leachon.
“We perfectly agree with Senator Lacson on this issue. We all want to have the next annual national budget that is free from constitutional attack. Apart from the objective as enunciated by Speaker [Lord Allan] Velasco, that is – ‘Ito ang budget para sa bayan’,” anang kongresista.
“So why should this case be singled out? With deference to the Senate, Speaker Velasco once again is categorical on this, that among his motivation to have a Congress that is with restored trust and integrity, is to start it right to lead the passage of the 2021 national budget that is fully transparent and constitutional with the ultimate thrust of giving the Filipino people a pandemic and economic responsive budget synchronized with the wishes of the Executive Department,” paliwanag ni Leachon.
Nangako si House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco na walang “pork barrel” sa panukalang budget.
“Let me assure you that there is no pork in the budget,” ani Velasco.
Sa panig ni Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, na kasama sa small committee, ang tinitingnan lamang nila ay “institutional amendments” at “departmental errata” na isasama ang “individual amendments” na pag-uusapan sa “bicameral conference.”
Ang “soft copy” na aprobado ng Kamara ay maaaring ipadala sa Senado sa 28 Oktubre.