Press Release
June 10, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said a reenacted 2005 national budget is unacceptable to the opposition as he called on the Senate and House of Representatives to continue exerting efforts to get the 2006 budget approved when they resume regular session next month.

Pimentel expressed the hope that the Senate, under the leadership of incoming Senate President Manuel Villar, can persuade Malacañang and its allies in the House of Representatives to agree to the passage of the new budget at some point.

It could not come before the adjournment of the last session because of the deadlock, but Im sure at same point, may be July or August, there will be a breakthrough, he said.

The minority leader voiced his regret that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself had closed the door for hammering out a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the 2006 general appropriations bill when she made known her position against cutbacks in the proposed P1.053 trillion budget and went to the extent of threatening to veto the budget bill if the reductions made by the Senate were not restored.

He said it was unstatesmanlike on the part of the President to flatly reject a suggestion for a special session to give the Senate and House more time to reconcile the wide differences between the two versions of the budget bill.

The President is actually resorting to tyrannical means by telling us you do this, or dont do this, Pimentel said.

She may have forgotten that the budgetary process, through legislation is always a matter of compromise. No department of government can have its way all the time. And so my immediate reaction was she cannot order us to do what she wants. She can tell the Marines what she wants. She can tell the Army chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon to follow her, but not the Senate, Pimentel said.

Pimentel said that as a consequence of the non-approval of the 2006 budget, no new projects can be implemented for lack of authority to spend funds.

He said the Presidents spending authority will be limited by what is allowed by the 2005 budget law.

That means the additional revenues generated from the expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) cannot be touched by the President legally. However, the downside of it is the President will have the power to realign some funding that is found in the 2005 budget, Pimentel said.

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