Enrile: Senate to prioritize budget, sin tax bills when session resumes

The P2.006-trillion proposed budget for 2013 and the controversial sin tax bills will top the Senate’s priorities when Congress resumes session on Nov. 5, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Sunday. “Kailangan matapos 'yan bago mag-recess kami for the Christmas break... Every bill na revenue and budget, priority 'yan. Talagang that is the lifeblood of the country, so it’s a priority. Hindi na natin paguusapan 'yan, priority 'yan,” he said in an interview on dzBB radio. Enrile said Sen. Franklin Drilon will handle both bills, working on the budget bill as finance committee chairman and on the sin tax bill as acting chairman of the ways and means committee. Enrile added that while he will encourage the Senate members to hurry in discussing and passing the bills, he can do little if individual senators choose to be absent, or leave early. “Ako bilang pangulo ng Senado, aapurahin ko sila para matapos 'yan pero nasa kanila 'yan,” he said. Enrile said that while some senators do not always attend regular sessions, some show up only to have their attendance checked, then leave early. But he said he will not force senators to attend sessions, saying they should know their obligations. “Hindi ko empleyado ang mga senador. Hindi ko na dapat i-enjoin sila, obligasyon nila 'yan. Obligasyon ng senador mag-attend ng session,” he said. According to the Senate's legislative calendar, the Senate will be in session from November 5 to December 21, adjourn on Dec. 22, and resume on Jan. 20, 2013. — BM, GMA News

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