THE House of Representatives will continue working on remaining priority legislation even during the congressional break as members call for a Senate-House “open meeting” on constitutional reform during their summer break.
This developed after the House authorized Wednesday night all its committees to hold hearings, if needed, during the period of adjournment from March 23 to May 7, 2023, to process important bills pending in various panels of the chamber.
In a formal motion raised before the plenary, House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose M. Dalipe moved to allow all standing and special committees of the House to pursue the performance of their mandate of passing vital pieces of legislation during the recess.
Before the House went into recess, Speaker Martin Romualdez announced that the chamber has succeeded in approving on third and final reading 23 of 31 bills identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) as priority measures of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
These measures were already transmitted to the Senate.
“We authorized our committees to continue working during the recess consistent with the firm commitment of the House of Representatives to approve priority measures agreed upon in the LEDAC meetings that would give flesh to the 8-Point Socio-Economic Agenda of the national government,” Romualdez said.
‘Keep the ball rolling’
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, for his part, has proposed that the called-off meeting between constitutional reform proponents in the Senate and the House be held during the congressional break “to keep the ball rolling” on Charter change, and help lawmakers decide soon enough on whether to go ahead on amending our 36-year-old Constitution before the year is over.
But Villafuerte suggested that the senators led by Sen. Robinhood Padilla and House members led by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez meet in an open session in the interest of full transparency, and not behind closed doors as preferred by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Padilla heads the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, who earlier invited House members led by Rodriguez, who chairs the House constitutional amendments committee
Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6 calls for a hybrid Constitutional convention (Con-con)—comprising elected and appointed delegates—to do a makeover of the Charter’s restrictive economic provisions, while HB 7325 is meant to be the implementing law for RBH 6.
Holding the called-off meeting on RBH 6 and HB 7325 even during the summer break of the Congress will drive home the message on the urgency of constitutional reform, given that we cannot hope to replicate the inrush of FDIs (foreign direct investments) to our more vibrant neighbors for so long as we remain stuck with the antiquated economic provisions of our Constitution on restricted foreign participation in Philippine businesses that that have put off investors,” Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said.
The twin Con-con measures were passed on third and final reading before the congressional recess by 301 or nearly 96 percent of the chamber’s 314 members, illustrating the super majority support in the bigger chamber for immediate Charter Change, Villafuerte said. -30-
Image credits: Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacañang Presidential Photographers Division via AP