Press Release
February 27, 2006

Senate not delaying 2006 budget approval

The Senate today debunked accusation that it is causing the delay in the passage of the proposed P1.05-trillion national budget for 2006.

Lawyer Antonio A. Gallardo, chief of staff and spokesperson of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, said it is unfortunate that some members of the House of Representatives have again come up with a misleading information that the Senate has been stalling approval of the 2006 budget when in fact the House of Representatives has not yet passed the budget and transmitted the same to the Senate.

Gallardo was reacting to a published statement of Navotas Rep. Federico Sandoval that approval of the budget would encounter stiff resistance from the Senate in view of Malacañang s decision to expand coverage of Executive Order 464 which requires executive officials to secure Malacañang clearance before attending Congress hearings.

"Records would show that the Senate, recognizing the immediate passage of a new budget, has been calling on the lower house to immediately pass the Malacañang -proposed outlay so that it can thoroughly conduct a review on the various appropriations for the fiscal year 2006 before submitting it for floor deliberations," Gallardo said.

In a statement, Sandoval said "the people would be the ultimate losers if the budget is not approved as soon as possible," putting the blame squarely on the Senate for its delay.

"May we remind Rep. Sandoval that the proposed budget is still with the lower house awaiting his and his colleagues action," Gallardo said, adding that the lower house will only start the debate on the general principles of the proposed budget today (Feb. 27).

"So why blame the Senate for the delay of the budgets passage when, as a matter of fact, they havent started the deliberations yet?" Gallardo asked. "Until now, the Senate hasnt received the House version and we expect that it will be submitted to us sometime during the third week of March."

Because of the apparent inaction on the proposed budget at the lower house, the Senate has decided to convene itself into a Committee of the Whole and adopted a system that would precisely shorten the time for deliberations in the Senate. The Senate has already practically reviewed 98 percent of the total national budget.

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