The row over the withdrawal of House Bill No. 4228, or the General Appropriations Bill for 2020, is finally settled after the House leadership allegedly agreed to submit it for 1st reading.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano reportedly met with House Committee on Appropriations chair and Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab Monday afternoon and struck the deal.
Unconfirmed reports reaching Davao Breaking News (DBN) showed that the House leadership agreed to submit the original version of GAB 2020 filed Ungab.
In a statement, Speaker Cayetano said the lawmakers “threshed out any misunderstandings and confusion that have arisen during the budget deliberations.”
He said that the House leadership, as originally scheduled, commits to approve the 2020 GAB before Congress goes on recess on October 5.
“The House will ensure the passage of a national budget that is constitutional, legal, transparent and accountable. We assure the public that budget will be scrutinized but will not be delayed and will be transparent. Pork and parking have no place in the 2020 budget,” Cayetano said.
In line with this commitment, Cayetano said they have requested all departments and agencies to submit the written presentations of their respective budget proposals before 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Rep. Ungab confirmed from DBN that Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymond (LRay) Villafuerte withdrew the 2020 GAB which his committee submitted for 1st reading on August 28.
A House member who requested anonymity said that the withdrawal could be but another ploy of some congressmen to insert or realign funding for their districts.
The solon said they will block this effort as this could be another reason for President Duterte to veto some parts of the GAA like what he did in the 2019 national budget that delayed for several months due to alleged insertions by some lawmakers.
The solon who is not a member of the so-called Cayetano bloc in the Lower House said that they do not want a repeat of the 2019 incident.
It can be remembered that the passage of the 2019 GAA was delayed due to some insertions made by some lawmakers.
President Duterte eventually vetoed some P93.5 billion of questionable infra funding allotment on the 2019 GAA.