Malacañang is hoping that members of the House of Representatives will be able to set aside their political differences and work together to pass the proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 budget on its third and final reading.

Harry Roque Jan 4 18 - Palace tells House: Set aside politics, do your work
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement days before the scheduled special session of Congress called by President Duterte on Tuesday to deliberate on the budget bill which was certified by the Chief Executive as urgent.

In an announcement over State-run PTV-4 on Sunday, Roque reiterated the President’s appeal to lawmakers to set aside their differences for now and focus on the timely passage of the 2021 budget.

“Ang panawagan po niya (President Duterte) sa ating mga kongresista, isantabi muna po ang pulitika para mapasa po natin ang proposed 2021 budget (The President’s appeal to the congressmen is to set aside politics so they can pass the proposed 2021 budget),” he said.

“Itigil muna po ang politika diyan sa Mababang Kapulungan para maipasa ang proposed budget ng 2021 na binuo ng administrasyon para labanan ang COVID-19 (Hit pause on your political showdown and pass the proposed 2021 budget that was crafted to fight the COVID-19 pandemic),” he added.

According to Roque, President Duterte will not interfere in the intramurals in the House of Representatives.

“Hindi po naghihimasok, hindi po nakikialam ang Presidente sa nangyayaring girian para sa pwesto ng Speaker diyan po sa Mababang Kapulungan (The President will not interfere in the speakership row in the Lower House),” he said.

“The President looks forward to your utmost cooperation,” he added.

Duterte has called on Congress for a special session to resume deliberations on the proposed budget for 2021 to avoid any delays after the Lower House suspended session and moved to resume deliberations on the budget on November 16.

In a speech on Thursday evening, Duterte said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco should not drag him into their dispute over the speakership.

He told the Lower House to resolve the matter because if it derails the timely passage of the 2021 budget, he will take matters into his own hands.

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