Press Release
December 11, 2019

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III

On the 2020 budget bicam.

Q: Naapprove na yung bicam report on the budget, pero may sinasabi si Senator Ping na may mga nainsert daw?

SP Sotto: I am not aware of it yet. Siguro magkukuwento sa akin mamaya.

Q: If that's the case, ano ang basis, mangyayari?

SP Sotto: What do you mean basis? Kung may basis yung pagkakalagay?

Q: Kung may basis yung sinabi ni Senator Ping?

SP Sotto: Well, ang mangyayari sa atin ngayon niyan, in order not to delay the budget, we will just inform the executive department that that is the assessment of the Senate.

Q: And then?

SP Sotto: We will leave it to the discretion of the President again tulad nung the last time but I cannot express my personal opinion until I get to know what it is and what is behind it, dahil as of now kayo pa lang ang nagbanggit sa akin niyan, hindi ko pa alam. Siguro magkakausap kami later on.

Q: The tone of the would be letter to the president would not be as strong as during the 2019 budget hearings?

SP Sotto: It depends on what it contains, the so-called P93 billion. It depends on what it contains, and what projects are identified there, on what departments they are placed. Depende.

Q: Senator Ping said these are 11th hour insertions na lump-sum, bicam, introduced by House members.

SP Sotto: The only difference from then to now is that before, the problem that we encountered last year, it was after we ratified that they inserted. Ito ngayon, hindi pa niraratify. So ano pa rin yan, bicam output yan, so in order for me to have a very intelligent opinion on it, I really have to look at it first and ask Senator Angara for an explanation. He would know what it is all about.

Q: Cause for alarm ba yun?

SP Sotto: All of the other questions that you are asking pertaining to that, to me, I will not be able to answer intelligently kasi sinabi pa lang ninyo sa akin, wala pang nagrereport sa akin niyan. I don't know, I have not talked to Senator Sonny Angara, I have not talked to Senator Lacson, so it's very difficult for me to answer.

Q: Isasalang po ba ngayon?

SP Sotto: I am answering it theoretically.

Q: (Unclear) or isasalang ninyo ngayon?

SP Sotto: Depende sa mga members ng Senate. Paguusapan yun kasi the big difference from last year and now is hindi pa namin nararatify. Nagbibicam sila, may pinasok na mga let's say, o may ginalaw na iba sa proposals tungkol sa budget, they did it during the bicam. Hindi actually bawal yun. Talagang napag-kakasunduan yun. Kasi ang problema last year tapos na yung bicam, nagratify na, ito ngayon, hindi pa kami nagraratify. Pag ratified na, tsaka pa lang gagalawin, hindi pwede yun.

Q: Pero it merits a serious discussion with Senator Lacson itong revelation niya today?

SP Sotto: Oo, yes and the chairman of the Committee on Finance and the members of the bicam. Tatanungin namin kung ano yun, di ba?

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Bicam report. Ang pinakamaganda, si Senator Angara ang tanungin ninyo.

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