‘Power struggle’ in Congress may delay passage of 2021 national budget – Drilon

Senate Minority Franklin Drilon said Monday the “power struggle” in the Congress may delay the passage of the P4.5 trillion proposed national budget.

“Certainly, a power struggle in the House will affect our timelines, and I hope not because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. We have about 10% unemployment [rate], we’re expected to have a contraction in our economy, so a delay in the budget would be critical,” Drilon said in an interview on ANC.

Drilon added a similar “power struggle” in 2018 also hindered the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act.

“If we again delay the General Appropriations Act in 2021, you do not expect a recovery in our economy, or the economy will be derailed. So, very critical. More than any other time in the past, it is critical that the budget be enacted on time,” Drilon said.

Drilon, however, did not respond to the question as to whether the power struggle in House is a fight for pork barrel.

He said the disagreement between the lawmakers is due to the “lack of transparency in the allocation” of projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Also read: New explosives found in Jolo blast site

‘Power struggle’ in Congress

Drilon also said there is a possibility that politicians may abuse the infrastructure budget for the upcoming 2022 elections.
“You cannot discount that this is part of the preparation for 2022. I have been in Congress long enough that if there’s anything that we should exercise vigilance [for] is what we call the election-year budget because that will be the source of favors that those in power will be dispensing,” he said.

Last week, Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund argued over infrastructure funds allocated to some districts.

Teves questioned the P8 billion allocations for Taguig City, where Speaker serves and P11.8 billion for under Villafuerte.

dismissed said Teves’ claims is only a “sinister ploy” by Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco‘s supporters to derail the Congress’ plan to finish the 2021 national budget deliberations by the end of September.