House to convene into committee of the whole to tackle martial law
THE HOUSE of Representatives convened itself into the committee of the whole on Monday night to tackle and consider President Duterte’s martial law declaration, with a briefing from the executive department set for Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman of the independent minority bloc opposed the move of Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas for the House to convene into a committee of the whole, arguing that Congress, as mandated by the Constitution, should instead hold a joint session.
Lagman and ACT Teachers partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio both objected to Fariñas’ motion that the discussion of the President’s report is done in executive session. Fariñas later amended his motion and said that executive session would be conducted when the “testimonies become delicate… then we will exclude [others] if it involves national security.”
Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said Lagman and Tinio were given the chance to express their stand, and with that, divided the House into vote via viva voce.
It was easy for the supermajority to win over lawmakers who voted “Nay” to the convention of the House committee of the whole.
Fariñas will chair the committee of the whole.
He emphasized the need for some of parts of the discussion to be held in executive session because “we will be listening to the commanders on the ground, we will be briefed where the enemies are, what are their plans of action.”
“You cannot announce that to the public,” Fariñas said.
The House will meet as the committee on the whole in the morning and then hold its last day of the first regular session in the afternoon.
They will adjourn on Wednesday and open the second regular session on July 24, when President Duterte gives his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Fariñas said invited to the briefing on Wednesday are Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Jr.; National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (National Defense); ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman; Court administrator Midas Marquez; and the Commission on Human Rights.
Also invited are Secretaries Manny Piñol (Agriculture); Mark Villar (Public Works and Highways); Vitaliano Aguirre II (Justice); Silvestre Bello (Labor); Paulynn Ubial (Health); Ramon Lopez (Trade); Judy Taguiwalo (Social Welfare and Development); Wanda Teo (Tourism); Arthur Tugade (Transportation); Alfonso Cusi (Energy); Rodolfo Salalima (Information and Communications Technology); and Interior Usec. Catalino Cuy. JE
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