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SENATE TO CONDUCT OPEN SESSIONS ON NAT'L BUDGET; PASSAGE MAY FACE DELAY



Senate President Aquilino Pimentel the third said on Sunday that the passing of the 2018 National Budget may face delay.

This was after the Senate decided to conduct an open session to discuss the amendments on the budget bill.

According to Pimentel, the Senate is eyeing to conclude the proposed 3.7-trillion-peso national budget deliberations this week, after finishing its interpellations last week in a special extended session day.

The senate president clarified that discussing the budget amendments in an open session was already included in the Senate rules.

The said discussion was a deviation from the practice of mere submission of senators of their individual amendments to the budget measure.

In line with this, Pimentel said, they will find out in the next few days why the past Senates did not strictly follow the said procedure.

Last week, Senator Panfilo Lacson said, the discussion would enable the senators to justify their individual proposed amendments.

In addition, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said senators would discuss the budget amendments “item-for-item” for transparency.

Futhermore, Drilon said, there would be no delay in the budget passage especially if the proposed realignment of funds would not create any problems.

Last October, Pimentel vowed to fast-track the passage of the budget bill until December 15.