Duterte optimistic proposed 2021 budget to be OK'd on time after resolution of speakership impasse
President Rodrigo Duterte is optimistic that the proposed P4.5-trillion budget for next year will be passed on time after the House speakership row has been resolved, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
"Now, the President is very optimistic...because they have already set aside politics and they can now concentrate on passing the budget in the House," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a televised press briefing.
Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano resigned as Speaker of the House on Tuesday after insisting for weeks that his opponent, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, whom he agreed to share the term as speaker in the 18th Congress, did not have the support of the majority of the House of Representatives.
Under the term-sharing deal, which Duterte brokered in 2019, Cayetano would serve as Speaker for 15 months or until October, while Velasco for the remaining 21 months.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, in the same briefing, expressed hope that the House could finish on third and final reading by Friday the proposed budget for next year.
"Now that the leadership issue has been resolved, this (budget deliberation) will continue and we hope that on Friday at the latest, the House of Representatives will pass on third and final reading the national budget for 2021," he said.
Roque said the Palace thanks Cayetano during his stint as speaker and congratulates Velasco as the new House leader.
"We look forward to working closely with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco because he is also a very close ally of this administration and I think the full cooperation between the executive and the Congress under the leadership of Congressman-Speaker Lord Allan Velasco will continue," he said.
Duterte met in Malacanang Cayetano and Velasco, who vowed to work for the passage of the General Appropriations Bill for next year. Celerina Monte/DMS