Cayetano camp buying time to 'entice' House solons to their side — Leachon

Cayetano camp buying time to 'entice' House solons to their side — Leachon

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Thursday accused the camp of House Speaker Alan Peter Speaker Cayetano of planning to use the “illegal” suspension of the lower chamber’s session to “buy time” and lure congressmen to their side.

In an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, an ally of Cayetano rival for the speaker, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, said the abrupt suspension of the session held the budget “hostage.”

Cayetano and his allies earlier moved to abruptly suspend the House’s session even before the lower chamber can approve the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which contains the proposed national budget for 2021, on third and final reading.

This unraveled ahead of the anticipated speakership showdown between Cayetano and Velasco on October 14.  Both camps have been claiming to have the numbers to win the speakership race.

“Sensing that there will be an election, they (Cayetano camp) suspended it. As a consequence, the budget is actually sidelined, contrary to the directive of the President to fast track it and of course to the detriment of the Filipino people,” Leachon said.

Leachon said Cayetano’s camp will use the congressional break to “buy time.”

“Kung magtatagalan naman [bago mag-eleksyon for Speaker], there will be mechanisms that they can do to entice members to be on their side,” he added.

14 agencies pending

According to Leachon, the proposed budget of 14 government agencies has yet to be subjected to plenary deliberations following the sudden termination of budget discussions on the floor.

“Labing apat pang agencies at ang lalaki nito, saka mga important. Number one: DepEd. Ano ba talaga yung concern ngayon ng DepEd ngayong pandemic. Yung iba nagsisimuna na, yung iba walang gamit, walang data. DOH. Ready ba tayo, if there will be surge of COVID [cases] later on,” he said.

“So, dapat malaman namin yung readiness ng mga departments na ito. With respect to how to face or how to make a rehab program for the benefit of the Filipino people. Maraming walang trabaho ngayon,” he added.

Before the House’s session suspension, Cayetano moved to create a committee “with full powers to entertain committee as well as individual amendments by the members to be submitted to the committee on appropriations on or before November 5.”

Cayetano also assured that the House will approve the GAB on final reading once Congress resumes session on November 16 and will be submitted to the Senate the following day.

But warned that the national government may have to operate under a re-enacted budget for at least the beginning of 2021 if this schedule is followed.