Belmonte to meet with Enrile, Sotto on pending billsBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines—Which measures will survive the nine session days left in the 15th Congress?
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Tuesday said that he will be meeting with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III to map out how both chambers would handle the limited time left to pass key measures.
He said communication between the two chambers was important at this point, explaining that they would try to fix a schedule for the meeting a week before they resume session on January 21.
Belmonte said House secretary general Marilyn Barua-Yap was presently looking into which bills can be approved within the nine-day frame, also taking into consideration whether they will be able to muster quorum since the campaign period is just around the corner.
He said that he remains optimistic despite the limited time they have, pointing out how they “have worked under tremendous time limitations in the past and have still managed to make significant gains and meet our targets.”
In an earlier interview with reporters, he said that some of the bills they were considering were the Anti-Trust and the Freedom of Information measures.
Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III said that the question of quorum was important for the FOI Bill, adding that it was necessary for the lower chamber to reach quorum on all nine session days in order to pass the measure.
As the main proponent of the FOI Bill, the Quezon lawmaker plans on having the measure sponsored and debated on as soon as they resume work.
Tañada urged his fellow legislators to “remember their responsiblity” as public officials and attend the last nine session days.
He is fighting to get the bill back on track after the lower chamber failed to take it up before they went on Christmas break. The measure has earlier hurdled deliberations at the Senate where it was passed on third and final reading back in December.
“Assuming we have quorum in all the nine session days. We would like to vote on second reading the FoI on the sixth session day,” said Tañada.