How lawmakers vote for two key measures before Holy Week break

How Congress took action on two key measures before Holy Week break

/ 12:00 AM March 21, 2024

House of Representatives

Official seals of the Senate and the House of Representatives INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Before Congress went on a break for the Holy Week, the House of Representatives approved two key measures: House Bill (HB) No. 9710 of the bill that seeks to revoke the franchise given to Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), and the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, which proposes constitutional amendments.

So how did lawmakers cast their votes for the two measures?


During the session on Wednesday, HB 9710, authored by 1-Rider party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, was approved by 284 lawmakers with four voting against it. Four abstained.


READ: House approves bill revoking SMNI franchise

Lawmakers for SMNI

Sources from within the House told that the following lawmakers voted against the revocation of SMNI’s franchise:

  • Duterte Youth party-list Rep. Drixie Mae Cardema
  • Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte
  • Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
  • Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo

The following, meanwhile, abstained from voting:

  • Davao Occidental Rep. Claude Bautista
  • Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit
  • Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman
  • Tutok to Win party-list Rep. Samuel Verzosa Jr.

Meanwhile, 287 lawmakers voted for RBH 7 passage while eight voted against it and two abstained. Same sources stated the following voted against the proposed amendments to open the 1987 Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions:

  • Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.
  • Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas
  • ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro
  • Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte
  • Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman
  • Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman
  • Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel
  • Cibac party-list Rep. Eduardo Villanueva

The two lawmakers who abstained from voting are Davao Occidental Rep. Claude Bautista and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr.

Franchise violations

HB 9710 was approved as key officers of the House committee on legislative franchises, namely chairperson and Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting and vice chair Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel believe the network violated the following franchise provisions:

  • Section 4 which mandates SMNI or Swara Sug Media Corporation — the legal name of SMNI — to “provide at all times sound and balanced programming
  • Section 10 which mandates SMNI to inform Congress about the sale of the company to other owners or other major changes
  • Section 11 which mandates the SMNI to offer at least 30 percent of its stock to the public

READ: SMNI will get chance to answer issues as it faces losing franchise – House rep

Investigations on SMNI started after Deputy Speaker David Suarez took notice of the wrong information being shared by Laban Kasama ang Bayan host Jeffrey Celiz, that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez spent P1.8 billion for trips in 2023.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco then clarified that the total travel cost for all House members and their staff from January 2023 to October 2023 was only P39.6 million.

READ: House approves RBH 7 on third reading

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Constitutional amendments

RBH 7 and the Senate’s RBH 6 — which the House resolution was derived from  — meanwhile propose to amend three provisions in the 1987 Constitution by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law”:

  • Section 11 of Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is inserted in the provision that bars foreign ownership of a public utility shall except in a case where 60 percent of the total capital belongs to Filipino citizens.
  • Section 4 of Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports) where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is inserted in the provision that bars foreign ownership of basic educational institutions except in a case where 60 percent of the total capital belongs to Filipino citizens.
  • Section 11 of Article XVI (General Provisions) where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is inserted in two portions: first, the provision that bars foreign ownership in the advertising industry except in a case where 70 percent of the total capital belongs to Filipino citizens. The other is in the provision that limits foreign investors participation in entities to how much their capital share is.
TAGS: Holy Week, lawmakers, RBH 6, RBH 7

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