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Senators thumb down Lacson’s proposal to adopt House version of 2020 budget

Senators on Monday thumbed down Senator Panfilo Lacson's suggestion that the upper chamber adopt the proposed 2020 national budget approved by the House of Representatives.

“We discussed the [schedule]. We cannot adopt. Many amendments necessary,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters after the all-senators caucus.

Lacson earlier said he proposed to Sotto and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon the possibility of Senate simply adopting the House version of the 2020 budget bill to fast-track its enactment and to prevent congressmen from making further amendments.

Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said adopting the House version is not possible because of the amendments to be introduced by senators.

“Malabo mangyari kasi marami sa ating mga kasamahan ang meron ding institutional amendments. For example, ako gusto ko dagdagan ang budget ng IPs [indigenous peoples], ‘yung PAMANA fund ng OPAPP [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] and also National Commission for Muslim Filipinos,” he said.

“So may individual amendments din kami na we call institutional amendments, which we will defend on the floor anyway, which I feel are also equally important,” he added.

Senator Imee Marcos said the Senate should exercise its right to scrutinize the budget.

“Importante na gampanan rin ng Senate ang aming papel na yung pangkalahatang overview, at least my national vision tayo,” she said.

Lacson said he understands his colleagues.

“I can see the sentiment of my colleagues kasi marami rin sila amendments. Pag in-adopt naming ang HOR version, goodbye to their amendments. I just floated the idea hoping we can fast-track the enrollment of the budget bill and to prevent further mangling of the national budget by way of individual amendments,” he said. — BM, GMA News