The plenary sessions of the House of Representatives were suspended on October 6, 2020 by the Speaker of the House Alan Peter Cayetano—11 days earlier than scheduled—and will resume on November 16, 2020.
The suspension was made right after the approval by the House on second reading of the 2021 Fiscal Budget. Clearly, the House could have proceeded and finally approve the Budget and pass it on to the Senate on the time expected for the latter’s own deliberations and approval.
With the early suspension of the House plenary session, the timely adoption of next year’s Budget is now in great jeopardy. As some senators had expressed, a re-enacted budget for 2021 has now become very likely as had happened in 2018 with disastrous consequences.
Ben Punongbayan, Chairman and Founder of Buklod, a national political party, said it is very obvious that the suspension was motivated by avoiding the handing over of the Speakership position to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, which had been reportedly scheduled for October 14.
This changeover was based on a gentlemen’s agreement brokered by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself on the opening of the current Congress in 2019.
Punongbayan expresses extreme concern over this development. To him, it once again demonstrates the tendency of our politicians to do things with impunity to serve their self-interest and completely ignore the general welfare of our citizens.
Punongbayan feels that it has become extremely important to remove this kind of behavior in our political scene. It only results in destructive consequences and perpetuates the less-than-mediocre performance of our national leaders and, therefore, impairs the promotion of the national welfare.