Manuel’s mic switched off again – shortly before vote on 2024 budget | Inquirer News

Manuel’s mic switched off again – shortly before vote on 2024 budget

/ 11:01 PM September 27, 2023

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel found his microphone switched off — yet again — as he was speaking on Wednesday at the House plenary hall as the chamber was about to vote on its final reading House Bill No 8980, the proposed 2024 General Appropriations Act.

Just after the bill was approved on its second reading earlier, Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas moved to consider it on its third reading.


At this point, Manuel raised a point of order, but the session was suspended. When the session resumed, Manuel was recognized to raise his point of order. But his microphone was eventually cut off.


Explaining a point of order

Manuel started by saying: “Madam Speaker, I will explain the basis of the point of order…  I am citing Article VI, Section 26.2 of our Constitution. Allow me to read that part of our Constitution:

“‘No bill passed by both Houses 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. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the ayes and nays entered in the Journal.’”

While Manuel was still speaking, Primicias-Agabas called the attention of the deputy speaker who was presiding,  Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan.

The presiding official recognized Primicias-Agabas even while Manuel was still speaking.

Primicias-Agabas countered Manuel’s point of order by saying that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had certified the bill as urgent.

“Madam Speaker there is already a certification coming from the Office of the President.  I think the Minority…” Primicias-Agabas said.


“The Chair now rules that the point of the gentleman, the Honorable Manuel, is out of order, Majority Leader,” Singson-Meehan said while Manuel continued to speak.

“Madam Speaker I reiterate my motion —  the motion to proceed with the third reading on House Bill No. 8980,” Primicias-Agabas said.

After the deputy speaker approved the majority’s motion, Manuel’s microphone was turned off. He took notice of this during the voting on the bill, saying that it was a “rude” move and that the “tyranny of the majority” prevailed again.

‘We’re a collegial body’

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano moved to strike off the record Manuel’s remarks, but it was not acted upon by Singson-Meehan.

“Madam Speaker, the tyranny of the majority has been displaced, and Madam Speaker, with that I vote no and I would like to explain my vote later. The mic was switched off on me, Madam Speaker. It’s being rude [bastos] to the people,” Manuel said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“Madam Speaker, I move to strike out the unparliamentary statement of Congressman Raoul, so moved. Madam Speaker, the word ‘bastos’ is not allowed in this House,” Paduano replied.

But Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul Daza said that, although he voted in favor of the budget bill, he could help but speak against the silencing of Manuel — especially since the House is a democratic institution.

“I’m essentially satisfied with the accomplishment of the leadership… However, I would be remiss of my duty not to speak up on what just happened. We’re a collegial body. It’s a democracy. The Honorable Manuel was properly recognized. We should’ve just let him finish what he had to say,” Daza said.

“That was just one sorry note, and I feel obligated to speak up regarding that because I think most of us don’t want to see a repeat of that — where someone speaking who was recognized and was cut in the middle of what he wanted to say,” he added.

Eventually, the budget bill was approved on its third and final reading, with 296 lawmakers voting in the affirmative, three in the negative, and zero abstentions.

On another occasion, at the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations on the proposed budget of the Office of the Vice President.

Manuel and the rest of the Makabayan bloc members were about to question Duterte about the OVP’s confidential fund use in 2022.

READ: Lost transparency: Makabayan raps ‘shielding’ of Sara Duterte from OVP budget queries 

READ: House panel ends OVP budget talks in under 20 minutes; Makabayan objects

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Bt Manuel was unable to manifest against the parliamentary courtesy given to Vice President Sara Duterte — because the mic was switched off.

TAGS: 2024 national budget, Raoul Manuel

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