By CNN Philippines Staff, August 13 2018
Image Credit to ABS-CBN News
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) — Malacanang on Thursday said it is “completely shocked” and “alarmed” by Congress’ decision to suspend deliberations on the 2019 national budget since some solons were against the adminsitration’s new budgeting system.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the supposed supermajority in Congress — whose members are allies of President Rodrigo Duterte — is acting like a minority.
“Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ito na ‘yung House po na may supermajority nasupposedly administration, ay sila po humaharang ng budget. Parang nabaliktad na po. Baka hindi na kinakailangan magkaroon ng Minority Floor Leader dahil mukhangminority na ‘yung in power doon sa Kongreso,” Roque said.
[Translation: For the first time, the House supermajority which is supposedly pro-administration is stopping the budget. The tables have seemingly turned. There might no longer be any need for a minority floor leader because it looks like the minority is in power in Congress.]
The deliberations were indefinitely suspended after the House went against the proposed cash-based system of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles said.
“We are completely shocked at the resistance of the House,” Roque said.
After former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took over as Speaker, Malacanang was confident that “we would still deal with very close allies,” he added.
Roque, however, said the Department of Budget and Management Secretary Ben Diokno and the Department of Finance chief Sonny Dominguez were unfazed with the possibility of a re-enacted budget.
“The congressmen better ask themselves, what will happen to their pet projects because under a reenacted budget, it is Malacañang that will determine which budgets will be implemented. I don’t think they want that,” he added.
The country’s budget is enacted by the President through the General Appropriations Act (GAA) legislated by Congress. However, in the case of a deadlock or inability to legislate the new budget, the previous GAA will be enacted.
Nograles earlier argued that the new system, which would only allot resources for projects that could be initiated and finished within the year, will greatly lower capital or infrastructure spending of government agencies. On the other hand, the DBM said the new system will hasten the delivery of government projects.
CNN Philippines’ Correspondent Ina Andolong and digital producer Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.