MANILA - House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has asserted she did not tinker with the 2019 Budget, an allegation by Sen. Panfilo Lacson that has stalled its passage.
In an ambush interview before she spoke as guest of honor at the 32nd Biennial Convention of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Arroyo said she did not micromanage the crafting of the 2019 National Budget.
“I think (Majority Leader) Fred Castro and (Appropriations Committee Chair) Nonoy Andaya and (Rep.) Edcel Lagman have already been setting the record straight. They were the ones who worked on the budget, not me,” she said.
Asked if she had touched the budget, Arroyo emphasized: “No, and Nonoy has been saying that over and over again, the work is the work of the appropriations committee and the bicameral panel.”
The House has dispatched Andaya, Lagman and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora to negotiate with Senators Loren Legarda, Lacson and Gringo Honasan next week to end the impasse on the budget. immediately.
“We’ll end the impasse as soon as possible, that’s my instruction. I did not micromanage the putting together of the budget. I don’t want to micromanage also their negotiations because the ones who did the budget know what they did and know what their flexibilities are,” she said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has refused to sign the national budget after Sen. Panfilo Lacson claimed Arroyo realigned P25 billion to favor certain lawmakers, which she denied.
The government is operating on a reenacted budget and the Palace and finance officials have warned that remaining in this setup could affect the country’s economic growth for 2019.