Belmonte to discuss absenteeism with coalition leaders
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Monday said he would talk to the leaders of the coalitions within the House of Representatives to iron out issues on absenteeism which has recently plagued its sessions.
Daily reminders through text messages have failed to motivate lawmakers to maintain quorum last week but Belmonte maintained that they would not resort to drastic measures in prodding fellow members to attend sessions.
He said that they had the option to arrest those who were frequently absent from deliberations but insisted that things need not come to that point.
Belmonte said he would talk to the heads of coalitions and “see how today goes first. Whole of last week, (the lack of quorum was the hot issue in the media). Hopefully ok na yun.”
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III meanwhile called on fellow members of the House of Representatives to attend sessions, saying that they need to show some “courage to vote on bills based on their conscience and the interest of the majority of our people.”
“This is the reason they were elected in the first place…to be legislators. I think the representatives are responsible enough to attend the sessions specially when there are important bills to be considered,” Tanada said.