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How the ‘Super Majority’ can affect passage of proposed bills

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Having proposed bills approved in Congress is and has always been a numbers game.

Majority votes by members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are always needed for a bill to pass and get enacted.

But just how long does it take to have a bill approved in Congress?

There are 12 steps to take to get thru the legislative process.

  1. Preparation of the Bill
  2. First Reading
  3. Committee Consideration / Action
  4. Second Reading
  5. Third Reading
  6. Transmittal of the Approved Bill to the Senate / House
  7. Senate /House action on the approved Bill
  8. Conference Committee
  9. Transmittal of the Bills to the President
  10. Presidential Action of the Bill
  11. Action on Approved Bill
  12. Action on Vetoed Bill

For a bill that is not so urgent, it usually takes one and a half to two years before it gets approved in Congress, especially when there is no one is opposed to it.

The annual proposed budget, on the other hand, has a prescribed time frame of six months for it to get thru the process and get approved.

The President, however, always has the power to expedite the process by having a bill certified as urgent.

Just like what then-President Benigno Aquino III did when he certified the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections as urgent in the 16th Congress.

It only took less than one month from the time it was filed until President Aquino signed the law.

On the other hand, some proposed laws do have early demise in Congress.

Two versions of the Anti-Political Dynasty bill could hardly get to move from the committee level.

With the opening of the 18th Congress with its new composition, the Super Majority composed of presidential allies is deemed to get even stronger.

Is this a prelude to a speedier passage of bills that are within the agenda of the administration?

For political analyst Ramon Casiple, this will make things easier for the government, pointing out that this has already happened even at the start of the Duterte administration with the Super Majority in the lower house.

Making things comfortable for the administration was the fact that the President’s allies have also dominated the Senate.

However, with all these things, one bill is still pending in both houses of Congress – the bill that seeks the changing of the form of government to Federalism.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubirri, nevertheless, assured that the Super Majority is not going to be a big issue in the Senate, so as not to affect the sensitive bill.

“The Senate is not just a working Senate but a thinking Senate, we need to have long hard discussions on this issues, hindi lang basta basta hook, line and sinker, ipapasa natin ang mga measures na itong mga measures na ito, dahil malaking implications, kung magkamali tayo sa Federalism, it can cause the bankruptcy of our country,” Zubirri said. (with reports from Nel Manibojoc) /mbmf

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Sotto reminds colleagues: Respect resource persons during Senate hearings

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

MANILA, Philippines – Reelected Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday reminded his colleagues to respect the rights of the resource persons they invite in their inquiries, saying they are primarily legislators and not prosecutors.

“We are not prosecutors, we are not Judges, our hearings had been known to be precursors of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and even self-injury. It should not be the case,” Sotto said in his speech after he was reelected through viva voce.

“The constitution expressly provides that the rights of the invitees must be respected,” he added.

However, Sotto was quick to clarify that respecting the rights of resource persons does not mean they will be soft on those lying to them.

“I only mean that our inquiries should really be in aid of legislation, although I also believe that those who lie in our face must stay in our premises or Muntinlupa if they continue to do so. What I am only saying is that we are legislators, primarily,” he said.

Sotto retained his post as Senate President after he was after majority of senators voted for him at the start of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress on Monday.

READ: Sotto retains post as Senate President

Sotto said the Senate will continue to be cooperative but independent and transparent on issues.

The senate leader also outlined some of the priority bills they will deliberate on in the 18th Congress, including the proposal to amend the Human Security Act of 2007 which will be called the Anti-Terrorism Act, the proposed Public Services Act, and the proposed national budget.

Sotto, meanwhile, sees heated debates ahead for the proposed revival of the death penalty. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Sotto retains post as Senate President

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has retained his post as Senate President after a majority of senators voted for him at the start of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress on Monday.

During the opening of the session, lawmakers voted viva-voce to support his continuing leadership in the upper chamber of the Congress.

Viva-voce voting is done where lawmakers will shout aye for their bet.

Also reelected are Senator Ralph Recto as Senate President Pro-tempore, and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as Majority Floor Leader.

Minority Leader Franklin Drilon will also continue leading the opposition bloc.

Twenty-two senators were present during the opening of the session; absent were Senator Manny Pacquiao, who he is still in Las Vegas, Nevada after his boxing bout with Keith Thurman, and Senator Leila de Lima, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

After the voting, Sotto led the oath-taking of newly-elected Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, Ronald dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel, Francis Tolentino, Nancy Binay and Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla.

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Bato seeks to include substance abuse education in K-12 Program

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa has filed a Senate bill that seeks to include substance abuse education in the K-12 program.

Based on his Senate Bill No. 228, substance abuse prevention education should be included from 4th Grade to the 12th Grade. This aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge and information about the dangers of substance abuse.

“The youth, once involved in drug abuse will likely have academic, relationship and health problems. This leads to lower grades, dropping out from schools and having damaged physical, cognitive and emotional development,” he said.

Based on the data of the Dangerous Drugs Board, there are 4.8 million Filipinos aged 10 to 69 who have used illegal drugs at least once in their lives.

The youngest drug surrenderer and youngest recorded minor rescued for substance abuse were seven-year-olds. —AAC

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