Duterte calls for Congress’ special session

President Rodrigo Duterte has issued Presidential Proclamation 1027 on Friday calling Congress to a special session on October 13-16 to ensure the timely passage of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.

In Proclamation 1027, the President asked Congress to  “resume the congressional deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget and to avoid any further delays on the prompt passage thereof in accordance with the Constitution and applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”

The Chief Executive earlier urged House leaders to resolve the speakership rivalry between incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and pass the 2021 national budget legally and constitutionally.

Senators have warned that the move of Cayetano and his allies to abruptly suspend their House session would guarantee a reenacted national budget for 2021, which would be a blow to the government’s financial capacity to address the obtaining Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, Duterte brokered a term-sharing agreement under which Cayetano would serve as the Speaker until October 2020 and Velasco would subsequently take over the post until the 18th Congress ends in 2022.

Duterte, however, said he no longer wants to be in between the tug-of-war taking place between his two allies ang jeopardize the proposed 2021 budget. Cayetano has vowed the House will expedite the passage of the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget.

“We take the President’s stern admonition to heart and we assure the public we share his concern for the welfare of our people. Thank you Mr. President. Congress can now continue to deliberate on the budget without the specter of politics and intrigue hounding us,” he said, committing to submit the printed budget to the Senate on November 5. 

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