House vows swift passage of anti-corruption measures

House leaders on Wednesday vowed to expedite the passage of all anti-corruption measures in the lower chamber to boost the government’s fight against corruption.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez jointly issued statement following President Duterte’s directive for the conduct of a large-scale investigation into allegations of corruption in the entire government.

Also, Velasco said the lower chamber is always open for any investigation.

“It is also important to note that the President issued the directive following incessant attacks against the House due to alleged involvement of some of its members in corruption activities in the Department of Public Works and Highways,” he said.

“While we are saddened that some congressmen and the institution have been dragged into this controversy, we welcome such probe by any government agency, as an investigation by the House would be self-serving and would only create a cloud of doubt,” Velasco added.

For his part, Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules, said on top of their priority is the passage of the bill granting anti-red tape powers to the Chief Executive during national emergencies.

“In an effort to further the President’s advocacy against corruption, the House of Representatives would work harder to fast-track the approval of all pending measures related to anti-red tape and anti-corruption campaign of the Duterte administration,” he said.

Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera, meanwhile, called for the immediate transmittal to Malacañang of the bill granting the President an anti-red tape powers during national emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.

She said the bill will no longer have to go through a bicameral conference committee because the versions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives are the same.

“Since the Senate and House versions are identical, the bill may be sent directly to Malacañang for President Duterte’s signature,” she said.

Just like the Senate version, the lower house version—House Bill 7884—empowers the President to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications when a national emergency is declared in the country. 

The bill covers all agencies of the Executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils; government instrumentalities, government-owned and -controlled corporations.

The House approved HB 7884 on third and final reading last October 16 while the Senate approved the bill last October 14.

It was the first legislative measure passed by the lower chamber under the leadership of Speaker Velasco, who also happened to be among the bill’s authors in the House.

Herrera expressed hope the President will sign the bill into law before Christmas.


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