House: Bring back interchamber courtesy

House: Bring back interchamber courtesy

/ 05:25 AM February 06, 2024



Members of the House of Representatives on Monday closed ranks, passing a resolution condemning the Senate’s “confrontational tactics” and calling for adherence to interchamber courtesy.

They generally viewed as an attack on the integrity and honor of the chamber the Senate’s inquiry on the alleged bribery to obtain signatures for the People’s Initiative for Charter change that was pointing to the purported involvement of some lawmakers, particularly Speaker Martin Romualdez, in the process.


Prior to its approval during Monday’s plenary session, there were 283 signatories to House Resolution (HR) No. 1562, the resolution “expressing unwavering solidarity and support” for Romualdez’s leadership.


“In the course of the performance of our legislative duties, it is a matter of course that we encounter diverse opinions and perspectives. These are vital to our parliamentary process and a healthy sign of a vibrant democracy,” Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said in his sponsorship speech.

“However, recent events have cast a dark shadow over the decorum and mutual respect that should define the relationship between our co-equal legislative bodies. The unfounded allegations hurdled by some members of the Senate on the issues surrounding the [people’s initiative] are direct violation of interparliamentary courtesy and undermine the independence and integrity of the House of Representatives,” Gonzales noted.

‘Ridiculous allegations’

The senior lawmaker exhorted his colleagues to “rise in defense of the leadership and dignity” of the House against “ridiculous allegations, unsubstantiated as they are, which foster a climate of mistrust that is detrimental to our nation’s progress,” stressing, “it is imperative that we denounce these underhanded tactics that erode public trust in our parliamentary processes.”

Gonzales denied the House’s involvement in the signature campaign to amend the 1987 Constitution, emphasizing that it was initiated by a private group. “We, however, respect the [people’s initiative] as it clearly manifests the essence of our country’s democratic process,” he said.

“Through HR 1562, not only do we express our support to the leadership of the Speaker but we likewise reaffirm our commitment to the principles of respectful dialogue and adherence to interparliamentary courtesy,” he pointed out.

“We stand as ‘one House, one voice,’ rejecting divisiveness and dedicating ourselves to the pursuit of harmony and cooperation between our legislative houses,” he said.


In HR 1562, the congressmen observed, “in the course of gathering the signatures of the people by private individuals, the Senate has adopted a confrontational stance by accusing the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives of engaging in a fraudulent [people’s initiative] and alleging the use of bribery and government funds to unlawfully gather signatures.”

No legislative purpose

They said the Senate inquiry was “without a clear legislative purpose” and was “specifically directed at discrediting” Romualdez and the House of Representatives.

READ: Senate, House clash over people’s initiative for Charter change

“While taking criticisms is part and parcel of a healthy and working democracy, the House takes exception to the recent statements and allegations made by the Senate that undermine the independence, reputation and integrity of the House of Representatives and the leadership of the Speaker,” they said, adding that they strongly objected to the accusations which they described as a “breach of interparliamentary courtesy and a challenge to the integrity of the parliamentary institution.”

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The House members asserted that the resolution was a “formal denunciation” of the Senate’s confrontational tactics and appealed that “respectful dialogue and adherence to the norms of interparliamentary courtesy be reinstated to ensure that both Houses work in harmony for the betterment of the people and the nation, rather than engaging in unproductive and divisive conflicts.” INQ

TAGS: Congress, House, Senate

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