House hopes Cha-cha, pet bills prosper under Escudero

House hopes Cha-cha, pet bills prosper under Escudero

/ 05:30 AM May 22, 2024

House hopes Cha-cha, pet bills prosper under Escudero

House Majority Leader Manuel Dalipe —official Facebook page of Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe

MANILA, Philippines — It seems the Senate leadership shakeup has breathed life into some of the languishing pet bills of the House of Representatives.

Long disgruntled at the slow legislation under erstwhile Senate leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, ranking House leaders are counting on newly installed Senate President Francis Escudero to pick up the pace in enacting priority bills, especially economic Charter change (Cha-cha).


House Majority Leader and Zamboanga Rep. Manuel Dalipe said he was confident that the House’s high-urgency measures, particularly the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution and the 2019 rice tariffication law, would finally see the light of day under an Escudero-led Senate.


READ: Chiz Escudero is new Senate president; Miguel Zubiri out

“I am very optimistic that with this new leadership in the Senate, Senate President [Escudero] will be unifying. I am also optimistic that he would also push for economic reforms needed in the Constitution,” he told reporters during a regular press briefing.

He added that his chamber looked forward to aligning its priority measures with the Senate “because we need to cooperate, and we need the two houses to move as one in trying to finish what we agreed upon in the Ledac (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council).”

As he relinquished the Senate presidency to Escudero on Monday, Zubiri hinted that Malacañang might have been displeased at his efforts to protect the 24-member body’s independence, saying he lost the third highest government office for “not following instructions.”

It was also widely speculated that Zubiri had earned the ire of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s allies for allowing his colleague, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, to continue holding an inquiry into the “Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) leaks” linking the Chief Executive to the illegal drug trade in 2012.

736 pending measures

According to Dalipe, in the 19th Congress alone, the House is waiting for Senate action on at least 736 measures, including 20 priority bills identified by Mr. Marcos.


The House has also been lobbying the upper chamber to pass its version of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, which seeks to relax constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of the country’s public utilities, educational institutions and advertising sector.

Earlier, Zubiri had claimed that economic Cha-cha was not on the Senate’s legislative agenda.

But when he resigned his post on Monday, he changed his tune, saying his resignation may have signaled the death of Cha-cha, as Escudero was known to oppose it.

Dalipe, however, was unperturbed, saying: “I’m sure they already discussed and already somewhat know how they are going to sway [voting in favor of Cha-cha].”

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers said the senators’ statements that they were already in the middle of public consultations on economic constitutional reforms were a good sign of Cha-cha’s chances in the chamber.

He was referring to the regional consultations now being held by the Senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.

“These are important because this would help explain to our countrymen that our intention [for Cha-cha] is to broaden foreign investment here and create more jobs. That is it,” he said.

No subcommittee chair

But the subcommittee chair, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, a Zubiri ally, quit his post as panel chair as a courtesy to the new leadership.

The public consultations of the subcommittee are intended to gather feedback on proposed amendments to the economic constitutional provisions, particularly RBH 6.

Barbers also allayed concerns about potential changes to the political provisions of the Constitution, such as the lifting of term limits of incumbent officials.

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As the Senate reorganized itself, Barbers said there was little to no chance of a similar leadership change in the House, as Speaker Martin Romualdez still enjoyed broad support from House members.

TAGS: LEDAC, Manuel Dalipe

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