MANILA Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said the "door is now open for a possible cure" to the ongoing impasse over the proposed over the proposed PHP3.7-trillion national budget for 2019.
Sotto made the statement after the House retrieved its version of the budget bill, which allegedly contained post-ratification realignments.
Sotto has refused to sign a budget bill other than what was ratified by both chambers of Congress.
"The entire Senate supports the fact that we want to approve or the President to sign a budget bill that the Senate ratified and the House also ratified faithful to what we agreed upon," Sotto said.
"There is now a possibility that we can bring it to the original state of the budget when we ratified it," Sotto added.
Sotto said amending a bill after it has been ratified is tantamount to falsification of legislative documents.
Sotto noted that the House has tweaked the Department of Public Works and Highways' appropriations for Major Final Output 1, Major Final Output 2, and Convergence Program amounting to about PHP79 billion and transferred it to some local infrastructure projects of favored districts.
He said the House leadership should restore the original items in the budget identified and presented by the public works department.
"That was not what was agreed upon because those funds were already itemized and identified by the DPWH. We have no right to change that after we have already ratified and agreed [upon it] in bicam)," Sotto said in Filipino.
"Don't tweak it, and revert to the ratified version. Then we won't have any problem," Sotto added.
The House leadership, however, maintained that it did nothing unconstitutional, illegal, or irregular when it approved and ratified the 2019 General Appropriations Bill in plenary session.
Contingents from both chambers of Congress are expected to meet on Monday to break budget deadlock. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency