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The General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is like an ordinary bill which comes in two (2) versions, the bill on first reading and the bill on third reading after committee and individual amendments are adopted on second reading.

The referral of Sen. Panfilo Lacson to the House “Red” and “Black” versions of the GAB is traditional. The “Red” version is the GAB originally filed on first reading and the “Black” version is the amended GAB for third reading, which has an increased allocation consequent to the amendments.

To explain further, the GAB with red prints is filed by the Committee on Appropriations based on the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the President to Congress. It usually contains minor amendments introduced by the Committee on the NEP which is termed as the Original Bill.

The GAB with black prints already contains amendments introduced by the Committee and approved amendments introduced by Members of the House of Representatives for approval on third reading. There is definitely nothing unusual or sinister about having two versions which is consistent with recognized parliamentary procedure.