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Budget proceedings seen subject to challenge over quorum

budget proceedings seen subject to challenge over quorum 816x445 - Budget proceedings seen subject to challenge over quorum

A MEMBER of the House of Representatives alleged that attendance is being “manipulated” and “doctored,” leaving any budget decisions subject to challenge because of lack of quorum.

In a briefing Thursday, Buhay Party-list Rep. Jose L. Atienza Jr. said that the lack of quorum within the plenary could lead to “half-cooked and maybe defective” national budget and laws.

Mr. Atienza said by his count the House had sufficient numbers of legislators between July 22 and Sept. 10, but the roll call does not accurately reflect those who were actually present.

“Short pa rin sa binilang nila (their count is still short) so even in the roll call, they are manipulating and doctoring and that’s not good,” Mr. Atienza said.

He noted that the House could permit a 30-minute leeway for legislators to be counted.

“Meron namang provisions sa rules natin, pag wala pang quorum on the first call, pwede maghintay ng 30 minutes para sa iba na dumating” (The rules provide for a 30-minute wait if the first roll call does not have the numbers in case some other members show up), Mr. Atienza said.

He added, “Kapag walang members (If the number of members is insufficient) to form a quorum, anything that is handled and tackled by the body is questionable.”

“So the danger of passing, not only the budget, but laws which are half-cooked and may be defective in many ways is a great probability because of lack of strict adherence to the rules,” said Mr. Atienza.

Committee hearings on the 2020 budget of P4.1 trillion ended on Sept. 6. Plenary debate started yesterday.

The 2020 Budget is under particular scrutiny because of the four-month delay to the 2019 spending plan, which dampened economic growth because key infrastructure projects missed the crucial dry-season construction window. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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