Lagman hits ‘railroaded’ House approval of Malasakit Center bill
MANILA, Philippines — Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday slammed the “railroaded” second reading approval of a bill institutionalizing Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved House Bill No. 5477 on second reading via viva voce, or a vote of ayes and nays, but Lagman said the measure was substituted with a version that was a “carbon copy” of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s Senate Bill No. 1076.
Lagman said the substitute bill was approved “with only a handful of Representatives present in the plenary” and lawmakers present in the session hall was not given “adequate” opportunity to scrutinize the measure even as the debates were based on House Bill No. 5477.
Members who wanted to introduce individual amendments and question the lack of quorum during the plenary was also “deliberately” refused to be acknowledged, he also noted.
The substitute bill was also neither submitted nor approved by the sponsoring House committee on health, Lagman further said.
“The copycat version which was purportedly and hurriedly crafted by the Committee on Rules was the direct aftermath of Go’s importuning for the House leadership to cause the approval of a version completely identical to his Malasakit bill in order to preclude a bicameral conference committee,” Lagman said in a statement.
With this development, Lagman lamented that the committee system of the House, as well as the plenary deliberations, were “put to nought in favor of exigency and conscripted unanimity.”
“It is bad enough when a bill is approved by a tyranny of numbers over the ascendancy of reason, but it is worse when a bill is deemed approved by a paucity of numbers in derogation of parliamentary rules,” he said.
Earlier this week, the Senate approved Go’s Malasakit Center bill. /muf
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