House recalls second reading approval of ABS-CBN provisional franchise bill
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday recalled the approval of the bill granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate until October 31, 2020 “unless sooner revoked or canceled.”
“Due to request of our members who wish to make some interpellations and possible amendments on the bill—let me make this of record that at any time the House can approve this bill, House Bill No. 6732 on third reading. But because of the insistence of our colleagues to interpellate further on the matter, I move that we reconsider approval on second reading of House Bill No. 6732,” Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Sharky Palma said.
The motion was approved.
During the period of interpellation following the approval of the motion to reconsider the second reading approval of the bill, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman raised the concern regarding the approval of the bill on first and second reading on the same day.
To recall, during House’s session on May 13, the lower chamber convened into a Committee of the Whole to tackle House Bill No. 6732 granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until October 31, 2020.
After the committee of the whole’s approval, the bill was immediately deliberated and eventually approved on second reading on the same day.
“We must make sure that the passage of House Bill 6732 granting a network an interim or provisional franchise must be free of any constitutional defect,” Lagman said.
“Exigency or even good motives cannot excuse or validate the repetition of an unconstitutional act or procedure,” the lawmaker added.
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, who sponsored the bill, responded that the passage of the bill on second reading in the lower chamber is “constitutional” and “not defective,” citing precedence.
“We are doing that (recalling of approval) simply because it is also the prerogative of this body to do so, to revert back, we’ve done that in the past. It has precedence,” Villafuerte said.
“Secondly this Congress is transparent, responsive consensual… we listen to other members. It does not mean that we reverting back to second reading that we are off the believe there is a constitutional defect,” he added.
Presiding Officer Raneo Abu later asked Lagman to proceed with his questions regarding the bill itself since the topic of approval is already “moot and academic” since the lower chamber has already recalled the approval.
Under Article VI Section 26. (2) of the Constitution which states that “(n)o bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency.”
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