Incoming PDP-Laban Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez of Davao del Norte, who is almost sure of clinching the House speakership under the administration of incoming President Rodrigo R. Duterte, vowed to push for regular Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (Ledac) meetings in the 17th Congress.
Alvarez said the Ledac is needed for a smooth and early passage of priority measures of the incoming Duterte administration and the 17th Congress.
“We need a regular Ledac because [those] meeting[s] [are] needed for the successful passage of bills,” he told the BusinessMirror. Lawmakers and members of the Executive branch draw up a list of priority measures in Congress during Ledac meetings. The council is chaired and presided over by the President himself.
“I experienced…[taking part in Ledac meetings] during [former President Fidel V.] Ramos’s administration, where Ledac was [then] at its most active [state]. I was the one among those attending the meeting [and] that’s why I know that [such meetings are] important,” Alvarez said.
He added: “We also need that [Ledac meetings] for a smooth relationship between the Legislative and Executive [branches of the government],” he added.
During the Aquino administration’s entire six-year term, only two Ledac meetings were ever convened. Republic Act 7640, or the Ledac law, states the council should meet, at the least, on a quarterly basis.
A good number of incumbent lawmakers said the nonpassage of several measures could be blamed to outgoing President Aquino’s apparent disdain to preside over Ledac meetings, even as the leadership of House of Representatives and the Senate held regular monthly meeting to identify and update the status of their respective priority legislative agenda.
But some of these priority measures set by Congress, however, were opposed by the Palace, which resulted to the nonpassage or vetoing of the bills.
Among the bills opposed by the Palace under Mr. Aquino were amendments of the economic provisions of the Constitution or economic Charter change, the bill mandating adjustments in individual and corporate income-tax rates and the proposal to raise by P2,000 the pension of Social Security System members, among others.
Also participating in the Ledac meetings are the Vice President, the Senate President, the House Speaker, seven Cabinet members, three senators, three House members and one representative each from the local governments, the youth and the private sector.
Alvarez also said the House, under his leadership, will prioritize a measure changing the country’s form of government from republican to federalism, revival of death penalty and amendments to the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act, or the so-called Pangilinan law.