STORY OF THE DAY


HOUSE PLENARY BUDGET DELIBERATIONS DELAYED DUE TO INTERNAL CHAMBER ISSUES



It was not a smooth sailing journey for the 2019 National Budget.

Tuesday’s supposed deliberations were once again stalled as the plenary decided to swerve to another important agenda--the discussions on disaster resiliency measures.

The session was called to order at 10 a.m. and was suspended for three hours.

According to Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, the chamber decided to prioritize tackling the measure creating the department of disaster resiliency as it is more relevant following the wrath of Typhoon Ompong over the weekend.

This also came after Monday’s supposed deliberations which was also suspended due to an alleged reorganization issue.

Sources said Appropriations Chair Rep. Karlo Nograles was suggested to be ousted which the house leadership denied.

According to House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to review the proposed budget after receiving reports from solons that there are around 50 billion pesos worth of misplaced funds distributed in several districts.

Andaya said there are at least 50 lawmakers who had been going to the speaker’s office to testify that there are allocations and activities happening in their districts which they are not aware of both in the 2018 budget as well as the proposed 2019 budget.

According to sources, this was for a project of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez which cannot be removed by Nograles because supposedly, top Malacañang officials are stopping him from removing it.

However on Tuesday, presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the palace does not know where the alleged budget insertion came from.

The palace meantime stood by its proposed P3.757 trillion budget saying it is the president’s budget.

Meanwhile, Nograles made public the committee report that was approved by the panel and submitted to the rules committee which is contrary to the claim of Andaya that while the report was approved by the appropriations committee, none has passed the rules committee for plenary debates.